Title:
Yoke and GPS Mounted Chart Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chart holder is attached by a clamp to the yoke tube of an airplane and retains the chart between the yoke and the pilot's eyes and across his line of sight. In a second embodiment, the chart holder is attached to a mounting for holding a GPS unit over the yoke of an airplane. The chart holder again supports a chart across the pilot's line of sight.



Inventors:
Klingel, Jeffery S. (Woodridge, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/476450
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
06/02/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MCDUFFIE, MICHAEL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT L. MARSH (WHEATON, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. The combination comprising a yoke of an airplane wherein said yoke includes a yoke tube having a circumference, a chart holder wherein said chart holder includes a removable clamp having opposing clamp members wherein said clamp members are compressed around said circumference of said yoke tube, a planar support member, a bracket extending between said clamp and said planar support member for retaining said support member a fixed distance from said clamp, a spring clip on said support member, said spring clip removably retaining a chart against said support member, and a light fixture on said support member, said light fixture directing rays of light toward said chart.

2. The combination of claim 1 and further comprising said bracket retaining said support member at an angle of approximately ninety-degrees to a pilot's line of sight.

3. The combination comprising a yoke of an airplane wherein said yoke includes a yoke tube having a circumference, a GPS attached to said yoke tube, said GPS having a mounting bracket, a chart holder wherein said chart holder includes a planar support member, a bracket between said mounting bracket and said planar support member for retaining said support member over a portion of said yoke, a spring clip on said support member, said spring clip removably retaining a chart against said support member, a light fixture, said light fixture removably attached to said mounting bracket, and said light fixture directing rays of light toward said chart.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said bracket retains said support member at an angle of approximately ninety degrees to a pilot's line of sight.

Description:

The applicant claims priority from his provisional application bearing Ser. No. 61/058,312 filed Jun. 3, 2008. The present invention relates to a chart holder for use in an airplane and in particular, to a chart holder attachable to the yoke tube of an airplane.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The pilot of an airplane must operate within a tightly confined space and must simultaneously remain vigilant to the airplane's surrounding as seen through the cockpit windows and to the airplane's instrument panel. At the same time, the pilot must be constantly aware of the airplane's position with respect to the underlying ground. Currently available GPS systems provide pilots with exact positioning of the airplane, but nonetheless pilots must refer to charts and the like for information with respect to landing paths, takeoff paths, and holding patterns that relate to airfields that are visited by the airplane. To absorb the information on the chart, the pilot must divert his attention from the cockpit windows and from the instruments for several seconds at a time. A rapidly moving airplane may encounter a problem during those few seconds and therefore it is desirable that a chart be retained where it can be easily studied with a minimum amount of diversion of the pilot's head and eyes.

Several efforts have been made to provide a stabilized or mounted chart holder that can be easily studied in the cockpit of an airplane. Among the most successful have been devices that attach a chart holder to the pilot's thigh. Such chart holders do not require an alteration to the airplane cockpit, yet retain the chart where it is easily accessible and will not be misplaced or dropped as the airplane banks or otherwise maneuvers. Thigh mounted chart holders, however, require that the pilot's eyes be directed so far away from the cabin windows and the instrument panel that neither is within his peripheral vision. As a consequence, a pilot employing a thigh mounted chart holder is at risk whenever he consults his chart. It would be desirable, therefore, to provide a stabilized chart holder that would not require alteration of the interior of a cockpit, but would maintain a chart in a elevated position such that study of the chart requires only minimal redirection of the head and eyes away from the cockpit window and instrument panel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the present invention is embodied in a chart holder that has a compressible clamp that can clamp around a cylindrical member of the type employed for the yoke tube of an airplane. The chart holder further includes a planar support against which a chart can be positioned and a bracket that attaches the support to the clamp. In general, the yoke of an airplane defines a plane that is generally parallel to the pilot's chest and not perpendicular to the pilot's line of sight when viewing the yoke. The bracket therefore preferably retains the support member at an angle with respect to the clamp, such that when the clamp is attached to the yoke tube, the support member is generally perpendicular to the pilot's line of sight when viewing a chart thereon. The device further includes a spring clip for retaining a chart against the support member and a light fixture attached to the spring clip, with the light fixture directing rays of light toward a chart retained against the support member by the clip.

To employ the chart holder of the invention, the clamp is attached around the circumference of the yoke tube and the support member for retaining the chart is retained in a position perpendicular to the pilot's line of sight. A chart retained against the support member by the spring is illuminated by the light when the cabin is dark.

As an alternative, the chart table may be attachable to a secondary member that is likewise attached to the yoke or yoke tube of an airplane. For example, the chart table may be attachable to a GPS where the GPS is retained by a clamp to the yoke tube of an airplane.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the invention will be had after a reading of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a chart holder in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the chart holder shown in FIG. 1 attached to the yoke tube of an airplane;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the light fixture attached to the chart holder shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an end on view of the chart holder shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 viewed from a position along the yoke tube as shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a pilot in a cockpit employing a chart holder in accordance with the present invention attached to the yoke tube of his airplane;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a chart holder in accordance with another embodiment of the invention in which the chart holder is attached to a bracket retaining a GPS unit that is in turn attached to the yoke tube of an airplane;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary enlarged side view of the attachment of the parts shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of the chart holder shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 9 is a second isometric view of the chart holder shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 10 is an isometric view of the chart holder shown in FIGS. 6 and 7; and

FIG. 11 is a second isometric view of the chart holder shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, 8 and 9, a chart holder 10 in accordance with the present invention includes a compressible clamp having a central back 12 from which extends a pair of downwardly directed spring loaded clamp arms 14, 16 adapted to be compressed around a cylindrical member having a diameter of approximately of one-inch, that being the approximate diameter of the yoke tube leading to the yoke of an airplane. Bonded to the outer surface of the clamp arms 14, 16 is one side 18 of a hook and loop type connector of the type commonly sold under the trademark Velcro. Attached by one or more nut and bolt assemblies 20 to the back 12 of the clamp is one end of a flexible strip of material 22 having on one surface thereof the other side of the hook and loop connector 23 that is complementary to side 18 such that after the clamp arms 14, 16 are fitted around a yoke tube 24 extending to a yoke 25, the strap 22 can be wrapped around the circumference of the clamp arms 14, 16 and attached thereto by the hook and loop connector 18, 23.

The nut and bolt assemblies 20 that retain one end of the flexible strap 22 to the back 12 of the clamp also retains flange 26 of a U-shaped bracket having a central portion 28 and an opposite flange 30. In the preferred embodiment, the flanges 26, 30 of the bracket are not parallel to one another but define an included angle 32 of approximately twenty-five degrees. Retained to the second flange 30 of the bracket by any suitable means such as one or more additional nut and bolt assembles 34 is a planar chart support 36 having an overall length suitable for retaining a chart at a desired orientation such that it can be read by the pilot. As depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9, the chart support 36 may include a central pivot 37 that allows the support 36 to be folded in half when not in use. Also attached by the nut and bold assembly 34 to the second flange 30 is one handle 38 of a clip 40 of the type having a pair of handles 38, 42 that may be compressed together to open a pair of compressible jaws 44, 45. Attached to the second handle 42 of the clip 40 is an electric light assembly 46 that includes reflectors, not visible, oriented to direct a beam of light across the surface of a chart 50 retained between the jaws 44, 45 of the clip 40. A deflector 51 on the light assembly 46 prevents light from being directed into the pilot's eyes.

In the preferred embodiment, the central portion 28 of the U-shaped bracket has a cutout portion, not visible, through which the handles 38, 42 of the clip 40 extend enabling the pilot to easily grasp the handles 38, 42 with his hand.

Attached to the central portion 28 of the U-shaped bracket, by any suitable means, is a battery pack 52 for providing electric power to the light assembly 46 through a flexible cable, not shown. The circuit that powers the light assembly 46 further includes an adjustable control knob 54 attached to a variable resistor, not shown, for adjustably applying power to the light assembly 46. The control knob 54 also includes an on-off switch for initiating or terminating electric power from the battery 52 to the light assembly 46. In the preferred embodiment, the light assembly 46 is in the form of light emitting diodes capable of emitting a maximum amount of light for the electric energy supplied.

Referring to FIG. 5, when the arms 14, 16 of the clamp of the chart holder 10 are snapped around the circumference of the yoke tube 24 and further secured by wrapping the strap 22 around the parts and securing the strap 22 with the hook and loop connectors, the U-shaped bracket 26, 28, 30 will retain the chart support 36 across the central portion of the yoke 25 at an angle that is approximately ninety degrees to the line of sight 58 of a pilot 60. Accordingly, the pilot 60 can view a chart 50 retained in the chart holder 10 with a relatively small angular diversion of his head and eyes away from the window 62 of the airplane or from the instrument panel 64. The provision of a chart holder 10 in accordance with the present invention enables the pilot 60 to consult a chart 50 while maintaining a forward view through the cockpit window 62 and of the instrument panel 64.

Referring to FIGS. 6, 7, 10, and 11, in another embodiment a chart holder 70 is attachable to a retaining bracket 72 having a clamp 73 to attach a GPS unit 74 to the yoke tube, not shown, of an airplane. GPS units that include a bracket 72 attachable to the yoke tube of an airplane are manufactured by Garmin, Ltd. of Olathe, Kans.

In this embodiment, the chart holder 70 includes a chart support 78. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the support 78 may include a central pivot 79 that slows the support to be collapsed in half when not in use. The support 78 should also be transparent so as not to obstruct the pilot's view of the yoke and instrument panel behind the yoke. A clip 80 is attached thereto. Clip 80 is similar to clip 40 described with respect to chart holder 10 and includes first and second handles 82, 84 which when compressed together open jaws 86, 88. One of the handles 82 is retained by one or more nut and bolt assemblies 90 to one end of the chart support 78 for retaining a chart 92 against the support 78.

Attached to the same end of the chart support 78 as the clip 80 is a lower flange 94 of a U-shaped bracket 96. The U-shaped bracket 96 has a central body 98 that extends approximately perpendicular to the surface of the chart support 78 and an upper flange 100 having one or more transverse holes therein, not shown. To attach the chart support 70 to the retaining bracket 72 of the GPS unit 74, one or more holes, not shown, are drilled through the retaining bracket 72 with the spacings and sizes of the holes 106 suitable for alignment with the holes, not shown, in the upper flange 100 such that the flange 100 can be retained to the retaining bracket 72 by one or more nut and bolt assemblies 104.

Attachable to the upper surface of the retaining bracket 72 by the same nut and bolt assemblies 104 that retain the chart support 72 is a second bracket 108 having a lower flange 110 having transverse holes, not shown, therein sized and spaced to receive the same nut and bolt assemblies 104 that retain the chart support 78 to the bracket 72. Attached by any suitable means such as rivets, not shown, to the elongate body 111 of the second bracket 108 is a light assembly 112. The light assembly 112 is similar to light assembly 46 and generates a beam of light 115 suitable for illuminating the chart 92 when retained in the clip 80. Like light assembly 46, light assembly 112 has a control knob 114 for initiating and terminating electric power to the light fixture and for adjusting the application of electric power to the lamp.

Electric power is provided to the light assembly 112 from a battery pack 116 that is attachable by any suitable means such as a hook and loop connector 118 to a lower surface of the bracket 72 retaining the GPS unit 74. A suitable cable, not shown, directs electric power from the battery pack 118 to the light assembly 112.

In this embodiment, the two flanges 94, 100 of the first bracket 96 are oriented at angles 120, 122 to the central body 98 that retain the chart support 78 in an orientation that is substantially perpendicular to the line of sight of the pilot, similar to that shown in FIG. 5. Also, the flange 110 of the second bracket 108 is oriented to direct the beam of light to illuminate the chart 92 that is retained by the clip 80 to the chart support 78.

While the present invention has been described with respect to a several embodiments, it will be appreciated that many modifications and variations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore the intent of the appended claims to cover all such modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.