Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2747596 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 2747596
(54) English Title: METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING CARGO ASSEMBLY ONTO AND FROM AN AIRCRAFT
(54) French Title: PROCEDE ET SYSTEME DE CHARGEMENT A BORD D'UN AERONEF OU DE DECHARGEMENT DE L'APPAREIL D'UN ENSEMBLE DE FRET AEROPORTE
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • B64D 1/08 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • HELOU, ELIE, JR. (United States of America)
(73) Owners :
  • BIOSPHERE AEROSPACE, LLC (United States of America)
(71) Applicants :
  • HELOU, ELIE, JR. (United States of America)
(74) Agent: WILSON LUE LLP
(74) Associate agent: WILSON LUE LLP
(45) Issued: 2018-06-05
(22) Filed Date: 2011-07-29
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2012-01-29
Examination requested: 2016-07-21
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
12/846,627 United States of America 2010-07-29

English Abstract

A system for loading and unloading a cargo assembly onto and from an aircraft. The system comprises an aircraft and a moveable platform. The aircraft comprises a forward fairing, an aft fairing, a spine disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing and a plurality of mounts coupled to the spine and configured to structurally engage the cargo container onto the spine. The aft fairing is movable between a fixed position for flight and an open position for at least loading and unloading of the cargo assembly. The aircraft is configured such that an unobstructed passageway is provided in an area underneath the spine during loading or unloading of the cargo assembly. An aft access is provided when the aft fairing is moved to the open position. The moveable platform is used to maneuver the cargo assembly for loading and unloading onto and from the spine, respectively.


French Abstract

Un système de chargement et de déchargement dun ensemble de fret à bord dun aéronef ou depuis un aéronef. Le système comprend un aéronef et une plateforme mobile. Laéronef comprend un carénage avant, un carénage arrière, une colonne placée entre le carénage avant et le carénage arrière et une pluralité de montages couplés à la colonne et conçus pour mettre en prise de manière structurale le conteneur de fret sur la colonne. Le carénage arrière est mobile entre une position fixe pour le vol et une position ouverte pour au moins le chargement et le déchargement de lensemble de fret. Laéronef est conçu de manière à ce quun passage dégagé soit offert dans une zone sous la colonne pendant le chargement et le déchargement de lensemble de fret. Un accès arrière est offert lorsque le carénage arrière est déplacé à la position ouverte. La plateforme mobile est utilisée pour manuvrer lensemble de fret pour le chargement et le déchargement sur et depuis la colonne, respectivement.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

What is claimed is:
1. An aircraft for transporting a cargo assembly comprising:
a forward fairing;
an aft fairing movable between a fixed position for flight and an open
position
for at least loading and unloading of the cargo assembly;
a spine disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing, the spine
defining an upper external surface of the aircraft and a lower coupling
surface; and
a plurality of mounts attached to the lower coupling surface of the spine to
structurally engage and suspend the cargo assembly from the spine;
wherein the aircraft is configured such that an unobstructed passageway is
provided between the ground surface and the spine during loading or unloading
of the
cargo assembly onto or from the spine, respectively; and
wherein an aft access to the unobstructed passageway and the spine is
provided when the aft fairing is moved to the open position.
2. The aircraft of claim 1, wherein in the open position, the aft fairing
is removed
from the aircraft to provide the aft access to the unobstructed passageway and
the
spine.
3. The aircraft of claim 1, wherein in the open position, the aft fairing
is pivotally
moved to provide the aft access to the unobstructed passageway and the spine.
4. The aircraft of claim 1, further comprising lower fairing doors
pivotally
coupled to lateral sub-structures coupled to the forward fairing and the aft
fairing.
5. The aircraft of claim 1, further comprising side fairing panels disposed

between the forward fairing and the aft fairing.
6. The aircraft of claim 5, wherein the side fairing panels further
comprise one or
more subpanels, the one or more subpanels being retractable to expose a
portion of
the cargo assembly.
14

7. The aircraft of claim 6, wherein the subpanels are retracted to expose
the
portion of the cargo assembly while the aircraft is in flight.
8. The aircraft of claim 1, wherein the plurality of mounts are actuated
between
an engage and a release position, wherein in the engage position, the mounts
structurally engage the cargo assembly to the spine and wherein in the release

position, the mounts disengage and release the cargo assembly from the spine.
9. The aircraft of claim 8, wherein the plurality of mounts are actuated in
a
release position to disengage and release the cargo assembly from the spine
while the
aircraft is in flight.
10. The aircraft of claim 1, wherein the aft fairing comprises two halves
pivotally
coupled to corresponding sides of the aircraft.
11. The aircraft of claim 10, wherein the two halves of the aft fairing are
pivotally
actuated in the open position to increase drag during landing of the aircraft.
12. The aircraft of claim 1, further comprising wings coupled to the spine.
13. The aircraft of claim 12, further comprising landing gear and supports
coupling the landing gear to either one or both of the spine or the wings.
14. An aircraft comprising:
a forward fairing;
an aft fairing;
a spine disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing, the spine
defining an upper external surface of the aircraft and a lower coupling
surface;
a cargo container comprising a plurality of laterally-oriented modular bays;
a plurality of mounts to structurally engage the cargo assembly to the lower
coupling surface of the spine;

side fairing panels disposed on opposing sides of the cargo container, the
side
fairing panels comprising a plurality of retractable subpanels corresponding
to the
plurality of laterally-oriented modular bays, the subpanels retracting to
expose the
contents of the laterally-oriented modular bays.
15. The aircraft of claim 14, wherein at least one of the laterally-
oriented modular
bays comprises a weapon and wherein the weapon is positioned to fire
ammunition
from the bay when the corresponding subpanel is retracted to expose the bay.
16. An aircraft comprising:
a forward fairing;
an aft fairing;
a spine disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing, the spine
defining an upper external surface of the aircraft and a lower coupling
surface;
a cargo container comprising a plurality of laterally-oriented modular bays;
a plurality of mounts to structurally engage the cargo assembly to the lower
coupling surface of the spine; and
lower fairing doors which may be pivotally opened and closed.
17. The aircraft of claim 16, wherein the lower fairing doors enclose a bay

comprising weapons or ammunition when the lower fairing doors are closed and
wherein the lower fairing doors permit the weapons or ammunition to be dropped

from the aircraft when the lower fairing doors are opened.
18. The aircraft of claim 16, wherein the lower fairing doors extend along
the
entire length of the cargo container.
16

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING
CARGO ASSEMBLY ONTO AND FROM AN AIRCRAFT
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Application Serial No.
12/846,627 filed July 29, 2010.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
[0002] The present invention relates to a cargo aircraft system and, more
particularly, to a cargo aircraft system that is designed to transport modular
cargo units
of various configurations and sizes.
BACKGROUND
[0003] The basic unit for transporting goods has been the truck. Being the
basic
unit, the truck has defined limitations on intermodal containers that can
typically be
transported by ships, trains and trucks. However, airplanes have generally
been
excluded from participation in transportation of intermodal and many other
types of
cargo. This is due to the limitations placed by the design and construction of
cargo
airplanes.
[0004] The design and construction of most civilian cargo aircraft are
based on
that of passenger airplanes. The basic structure is a monocoque-based fuselage
which
is substantially cylindrical in shape. Monocoque-based structures support the
structural
1

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
load of an aircraft by a unitary structural body, as opposed to heavier
internal frames or
trusses. The unibody construction of the monocoque-based aircraft generally
lack
sufficient structure to adequately or efficiently support and distribute
concentrated cargo
loads across the aircraft fuselage and to the wings.
[0005] Additionally, the cylindrically-shaped fuselage imposes additional
restrictions on cargo size and dimensions. Thus, cargo having irregular or
unusually
large dimensions are generally unsuited for air transport via today's cargo
aircraft.
Moreover, as most cargo units are substantially rectangular in shape, loading
such
cargo units into a cylindrical fuselage results in a significant amount of
wasted dead
space.
SUMMARY
[0006] The cargo aircraft systems disclosed herein comprise a spine
structure
onto which a cargo assembly may be mounted. The spine structure replaces the
cylindrically-shaped monocoque-based fuselages of today's aircraft and has
sufficient
structure, in combination with the cargo assembly, to distribute concentrated
cargo
loads along its length and to the wings. The cargo assembly is an integrated
and
unitary structure formed from one or a plurality of cargo units coupled
together. The
cargo unit may be a modular frame unit or a modular container unit and the
resulting
cargo assembly may be any one or a combination of modular frame and container
units.
The cargo assembly is structurally integrated with the spine to form part of
the aircraft
structure such that the aircraft is able to withstand tortional and bending
loads
experienced during flight. Thus, the cargo assembly augments the structure of
the
spine, which itself would not be able to sustain the tortional and bending
loads of the
aircraft when the spine is loaded with the cargo assembly. Moreover, because
the
cargo aircraft eliminates the need for additional structure to support the
load of the
cargo assembly, a significant reduction in the weight of the cargo aircraft is
realized.
This, in turn, results in greater fuel efficiency and decreased cost of
operation.
[0007] In one embodiment, an aircraft for transporting a cargo assembly is
disclosed. The aircraft comprises a forward fairing, an aft fairing and a
spine disposed
2

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
between the forward fairing and the aft fairing. The aft fairing is movable
between a
fixed position for flight and an open position for at least loading and
unloading of the
cargo assembly. The aircraft is configured such that an unobstructed
passageway is
provided between the ground surface and the spine during loading or unloading
of the
cargo assembly onto or from the spine, respectively. An aft access to the
unobstructed
passageway and the spine is provided when the aft fairing is moved to the open

position.
[0008] In accordance with a first aspect, the aft fairing is removed from
the
aircraft to provide the aft access to the unobstructed passageway and the
spine when
the aft fairing is in the open position.
[0009] In accordance with a second aspect, the aft fairing is pivotally
moved to
provide the aft access to the unobstructed passageway and the spine when the
aft
fairing is in the open position.
[0010] In accordance with a third aspect, the aircraft further comprises
lower
fairing doors pivotally coupled to lateral sub-structures coupled to the
forward fairing
and the aft fairing.
[0011] In accordance with a fourth aspect, the aircraft further comprises
side
fairing panels disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing.
[0012] In accordance with a fifth aspect, the side fairing panels further
comprise
one or more subpanels, the one or more subpanels being retractable to expose a

portion of the cargo assembly. The subpanels may be retracted to expose the
portion
of the cargo assembly while the aircraft is in flight.
[0013] In accordance with a sixth aspect, the aircraft further comprises a
plurality
of mounts coupled to the spine, the plurality of mounts configured to
structurally engage
the cargo assembly onto the spine. The plurality of mounts may be actuated
between
an engage and a release position, wherein in the engage position, the mounts
3

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
structurally engage the cargo assembly to the spine and wherein in the release
position,
the mounts disengage and release the cargo assembly from the spine. The
plurality of
mounts may be actuated in a release position to disengage and release the
cargo
assembly from the spine while the aircraft is in flight.
[0014] In accordance with a seventh aspect, the aft fairing comprises two
halves
pivotally coupled to corresponding sides of the aircraft. The two halves of
the aft fairing
are pivotally actuated in the open position to increase drag during landing of
the aircraft.
[0015] In accordance with an eighth aspect, the aircraft further comprises
wings
coupled to the spine. The aircraft may further comprise landing gear and
supports
coupling the landing gear to either one or both of the spine or the wings.
[0016] In another embodiment, a system for loading and unloading a cargo
assembly onto an aircraft is disclosed. The system comprises an aircraft and a

moveable platform. The aircraft comprises a forward fairing, an aft fairing
and a spine
disposed between the forward fairing and the aft fairing. A plurality of
mounts are
configured to structurally engage the cargo container onto the spine. The
aircraft is
configured such that an unobstructed passageway underneath the spine is
provided
during loading or unloading of the cargo assembly onto or from the spine. The
moveable platform is configured for maneuvering the cargo assembly to and from
the
spine.
[0017] In accordance with a first aspect the aft fairing is movable between
a fixed
position for flight and an open position and wherein an aft access to the
unobstructed
passageway and the spine is provided when the aft fairing is in the open
position.
[0018] In accordance with a second aspect, the moveable platform maneuvers
the cargo assembly to and from the spine via the aft access and the
unobstructed
passageway:
4

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
[0019] In accordance with a third aspect, the movable platform further
comprises
sensors for determining a location of the movable platform relative to the
spine. The
moveable platform may be configured to lift the cargo assembly onto the spine.
The
aircraft spine and the movable platform may each comprise means for
determining a
loading position of the movable platform relative to the spine prior to
lifting the cargo
assembly onto the spine for mounting thereon.
[0020] Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will
become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed
description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0021] Illustrative embodiments of the present invention are described
herein with
reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
[0022] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the cargo aircraft
system
showing the aft loading of the cargo assembly onto an upper spine aircraft.
[0023] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the cargo
aircraft
system showing the aft loading of the cargo assembly onto a lower spine
aircraft.
[0024] FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the loading of the cargo assembly onto
the
upper spine.
[0025] FIGS. 4A and 48 are perspective views of an embodiment of the
moveable platform used for loading the cargo assembly onto the aircraft.
[0026] FIGS, 5A through 5C illustrate an exemplary sequence of loading,
transporting and unloading of the cargo assembly from the aircraft.
[0027] FIG. 6 is an embodiment of a cargo assembly having a deployed
parachute.
[0028] FIG. 7 is an embodiment of a cargo assembly and an aircraft having
retractable side fairings to expose select portions of the cargo assembly.

Attomey Docket No. 70006-00012
[0029] FIG. 8A and 8B are top and bottom perspective views, respectively,
of an
embodiment of a cargo assembly.
[0030] FIG. 9 illustrates the lateral deployment of a missile from an
embodiment
of the aircraft having retractable side fairings.
10031] FIG. 10 illustrates the drop deployment of missiles or bombs from
an
embodiment of the aircraft having open lower fairing doors.
[0032] FIG. 11A and 11B show different embodiments of providing an aft
access
to the aircraft spine.
[0033] Like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of
the
drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERR_ED EMBODIMENTS
[0034] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a cargo aircraft system. The
cargo
aircraft system is depicted as comprising an aircraft 100A and a cargo
transporter 190,
such as a truck or a moveable platform, comprising a cargo assembly 500.
Embodiments of the basic structure of a cargo aircraft are also described in
U.S. Pat. No.
7,261,257, issued August 28, 2007, and U.S. Pat. No. 8,608,110, issued
December 17,
2013.
[0035] Generally, the cargo aircraft 1 00A comprises a forward fairing
110, an aft
fairing 130A, 1308, and an empennage having laterally extending horizontal
stabilizers
132 and twin vertical stabilizers 134. An upper spine 120 is provided between
the forward
fairing 110 and aft fairing 130A, 130B. A plurality of mounts (not shown) is
disposed at
various intervals along the upper spine 120 to structurally engage the cargo
assembly 500
at various attachment points. A depiction of the mounts and the manner in
which the
cargo assembly is coupled onto the upper spine via the mounts, is further
described in
U.S. Pat. No. 7,261,257 and U.S. Pat. No. 8,608,110.
6
CA 2747596 2017-07-17

Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
10036] The upper
spine 120 is understood as comprising one or more layers of
interconnected spars and bulkheadsiribs to which mounts are attached, as
described in
U.S. Pat. No. 8,608,110, issued December 17, 2013.1t is understood that the
number of
layers of interconnected spars and bulkheads/ribs may be provided as required
by
specific weight regimes. The upper spine 120 is designed to be as light as
possible. As
such, the spine structure is capable of supporting takeoff loads, flight loads
and landing
loads of the aircraft when free of cargo. However, when the cargo assembly 500
is
mounted onto the spine, the spine, by itself, is not required to fully sustain
bending and
tortional loads in flight, and landing and takeoff loads. The additional
rigidity required is
supplied by the cargo assembly 500. The cargo assembly 500 augments the spine
and
aircraft structure so as to support these loads when it is structurally
integrated to the
spine. To this end, the individual units comprising the cargo assembly are
constructed
with sufficient structure and rigidity and are securely mounted to the spine
such that
bending and tortional forces experienced by the spine structure are imposed
upon the
cargo assembly.
10037] The
simplicity of the spine structure furthermore permits it to be configured
in any variety of widths and weight capacities. Thus, for example, the spine
may be
configured to support extra large cargo loads which cannot be transported
within
standard intermodal containers by simply increasing the width and the number
of layers of
interconnected bulkheads and spars to an extent necessary to accommodate such
extra
large cargo loads. Thus, the spine permits greater flexibility with respect to
the dimensions
of the cargo assembly than would be realized by an aircraft with the standard
monocoque-
based cylindrical fuselage. Moreover, the structural features of the spine
allow for the
cargo load to be more efficiently distributed along the spine and also to the
wings.
[0038] Wings 122
are structurally associated with the upper spine 120. Wings 122
may optionally contain fuel tanks (not shown). Forward landing gear 152 may be
provided
underneath the forward fairing 110 and lateral landing gears 154 may be
provided on
both sides of the spine 120. The lateral landing gears 154 extends from
7
CA 2747596 2017-07-17

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
respective pods 150 for landing and take-off and retracts into the pods 150
during flight.
Supports 140 may couple the pods 150 to the spine 120 as shown in FIGS. 1 and
3A-B
or, alternatively, to the wings 122 (not shown). The supports 140 must be
constructed of
sufficient structure, as they experience compression load from the lateral
landing gear
154 during landing and take-off. As such, they may be constructed in a manner
similar
to the spine described above, based on the anticipated load of the aircraft
and the cargo
assembly. Engines 124 are shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1 to be laterally
mounted
to the spine 120. It is understood that the engines 124 may also be mounted to
the
wings 122.
[0039] Side fairings 160 may be provided on both sides of the aircraft to
reduce
the drag of the aircraft in light. Lower fairing doors 164 may also be
pivotally coupled to
the sub-structure 162 extending between the forward fairing 110 and the aft
fairing
130A, B. The sub-structure 162 may be further supported along its length via
straps
extending vertically from the spine 120. The lower fairing doors 164 are
pivotally
opened during loading and unloading of the cargo assembly 500 onto and from
the
aircraft 100A. The side fairings 160 and the lower fairing doors 164 are
preferably
made of a composite light weight material and the primary function of the
aerodynamic
fairings is to reduce drag. In a particularly preferred embodiment, the side
fairings 160
and the lower fairing doors 164 are of a light weight structure and do not
provide
substantial, if any, support or rigidity to the aircraft in flight.
[0040] The aft fairing in FIGS. 1, 3A, 3B, and 11B is depicted as having
two
halves 130A, 130B, which are each pivotally coupled to corresponding sides of
the
aircraft. Alternatively, as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 11A, the entire aft
fairing 135 may be
provided as a single integral unit that is pivotally coupled to one side of
the aircraft. One
advantage of having the aft fairings in two halves 130A, 130B is that the two
halves may
be pivotally actuated in the open position during loading and unloading of the
cargo
assembly and also during landing operations to increase drag and the reduce
landing
roll out.
8

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
[0041] FIG. 2 illustrates another embodiment of the cargo aircraft system.
The
cargo aircraft system is depicted as comprising an aircraft 200 and a moveable
platform
300 comprising a cargo assembly 510. The cargo aircraft 200 comprises a
forward
fairing 210, an aft fairing 230, and an empennage having laterally extending
horizontal
stabilizers 232 and twin vertical stabilizers 234. Unlike the aircraft
depicted in FIG. 1,
the cargo aircraft 200 comprises a lower spine 220 between the forward fairing
210 and
the aft fairing 230. A plurality of mounts (not shown) is similarly disposed
at various
intervals along the lower spine 220. The plurality of mounts may further be
retracted
beneath the surface of the lower spine 220 to facilitate loading of the cargo
assembly
510. Once the cargo assembly 510 is loaded onto the lower spine 220, the
plurality of
mounts may be actuated to structurally engage the cargo assembly 510 at
attachment
points provided on the cargo assembly 510. A depiction of the mounts and the
manner
in which the cargo assembly is coupled onto the lower spine via the mounts, is
further
described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,261,257 and co-pending U.S. Patent Application
Serial No.
12/833,868.
[0042] Wings 222 are structurally associated with the lower spine 220.
Wings
222 may optionally contain fuel tanks (not shown). Forward landing gear 252
may be
provided underneath the forward fairing 210 and lateral landing gears 254 may
be
provided underneath the spine 220 or the wings 222. Engines 224 are shown in
the
embodiment of FIG. 1 to be mounted to the wings 222.
[0043] Aerodynamic fairings 260 may be provided to enclose the cargo
assembly
510 mounted onto the lower spine 220. Again, the aerodynamic fairings 260 are
preferably made of a composite light weight material and the primary function
of the
aerodynamic fairings is to reduce drag. In a particularly preferred
embodiment, the
aerodynamic fairings 260 are of a lightweight structure and thus do not
provide
substantial, if any, support or rigidity to the aircraft in flight. As
explained above, the aft
fairing 230 is a single integral unit that is pivotally coupled to one side of
the aircraft 200.
[0044] FIGS. 3A-3B show the loading sequence of the cargo assembly 500 onto
the upper spine 120 of the aircraft depicted in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 3A,
the two
9

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attomey Docket No. 70006-00012
halves of the aft fairing 130A, 130B are pivotally coupled to corresponding
sides of the
aircraft and are opened to permit an aft ac:cess to the spine. The aircraft is
further
configured such that an unobstructed passageway is provided undemeath the
spine
when the lower fairing doors 164 are pivotally opened. Because there are no
intervening aircraft structures between the ground surface 1 and the spine
120, a
vehicle or a moveable platform 300 may be maneuvered from the aft access to a
position directly underneath the spine 120. Once the moveable platform 300 is
in the
appropriate position underneath the spine 120, the cargo assembly 500 is
vertically
elevated toward the spine 120 for mounting.
[0045] As shown in FIGS. 4A-B, the moveable platform 300 comprises a
surface
310 upon which the cargo assembly may be supported and a pair of longitudinal
side
flanges 312 to restrain the cam assembly on the surface 310. The surface 310
is
coupled to a lift mechanism 350 which, in turn, is coupled to a frame 314
supported by a
plurality of wheels 320. The moveable platform 300 is movable in both a
horizontal and
vertical direction, either manually or remotely. The moveable platform 300 may
further
comprise a mechanism to facilitate the proper positioning of the cargo
assembly 500
relative to the spine 120 prior to lifting the cargo assembly 500 onto the
spine 120. This
may be done via sensors which track the position of the cargo assembly 500
relative to
the spine.
[0046] The absence of intervening aircraft structures when the fairing
doors 164
are pivotally opened also permit the aircraft 100A to deliver the cargo
assembly 500
loaded onto the upper spine 120 during flight. This may be accomplished by
disengaging the cargo assembly 500 from the upper spine 120, and thereby
allowing
the cargo assembly 500 to drop to a desired location.
[0047] FIG. 5A-C illustrate an exemplary sequence of loading, transporting
and
unloading of the cargo assembly from the aircraft 100A. As shown in FIG. 5A,
the
aircraft 100A is supported on the ground by the forward landing gear 152 and
the lateral
landing gears 154 extended from the respective pods 150 on either sides of the
spine
120, It is understood that the lateral landing gears 154 and the pods are
angled away

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
from the spine 120 so as to provide a clear passageway between the spine 120
and the
ground for the movement of cargo. This is more clearly shown in FIGS. 3A-B, in
which
the arrangement of the supports 140 and the landing pods 150 and the lateral
landing
gear 154 permit the unobstructed passageway between the spine 120 and the
ground.
[0048] FIG. 5A depicts the aircraft 100A in which the aft fairings 130A,
130B are
pivotally opened to permit an aft access to the spine 120. A moveable platform
300
comprising a plurality of wheels 320 is provided to transport the cargo
assembly 510
through the aft access. Once the cargo assembly 510 is at an appropriate
position
underneath the spine 120, the moveable platform 300 raises the cargo assembly
510
onto the spine 120 onto which it is attached via mounts. The aircraft 100A is
ready for
flight after the cargo assembly 510 is structurally integrated onto the spine
120 via the
mounts and the aft fairings 130A, 130B are pivotally secured in the closed
position.
[0049] FIG. 5B shows the aircraft 100A in flight with its forward landing
gear 152
and the lateral landing gear 154 retracted. The aft fairing doors 164 are
opened to
permit the dropping of the cargo assembly 510 once the aircraft reaches a
desired
location for delivery. It is understood that the cargo assembly 510 is
comprised of
modular units of structural frame assemblies, structural container assemblies,
or
combinations thereof. The modular nature of the frames and containers allows
great
flexibility in creating a final cargo assembly that is capable of
accommodating various
types, sizes, dimensions and weights of cargo. Once these modular units are
structurally coupled together to form a cargo assembly, they may be coupled to
the
aircraft spine to provide an integrated structure that is capable of taking on
and
distributing bending and tortional loads to the spine and the wings of the
aircraft.
[0050] FIG. 5C illustrates an exemplary drop sequence in which the cargo
assembly 510 is initially disengaged and dropped from the aircraft spine 120
as a single
unit. In a preferred embodiment, the entire payload of the cargo assembly is
disengaged at the same time so as to ensure that the weight distribution of
the aircraft
remains within an acceptable center of gravity. To that end, the mounts
coupling the
cargo assembly to the upper spine 120 may further comprise explosives which
detonate
I1

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
at the same time to ensure complete and substantially simultaneous
disengagement of
the mounts.
[0051] The modular units 510A, B, C comprising the cargo assembly 510 may
subsequently be disengaged from one another a pre-determined time after the
cargo
assembly 510 has been disengaged and dropped from the aircraft spine 120. In a

preferred embodiment, the modular units 510A, B, C are disengaged from one
another
by a timed explosive which detonates to sever the mounts coupling the modular
units
510A, B, C together. The modular units 510A, B, C are each further equipped
with one
or a plurality of parachutes 700 which deploy after the modular units 510A, B,
C have
been disengaged from one another. FIG. 6 depicts an altemative embodiment in
which
a single parabolic parachute 800 attached to a modular cargo unit 900 via
lines 804 and
risers 806.
[0052] While FIGS. 5A-C depict the delivery of the cargo assembly 510 while
the
aircraft 100A is in flight, it is understood that the cargo assembly 510 may
also be
delivered when the aircraft 100A is grounded. In accordance with this
embodiment,
once the aircraft 100A loaded with the cargo assembly 510 lands at the desired

location, the aft fairing 130 and the lower fairing doors 164 may open and the
mounts
may disengage the cargo assembly 510. The cargo assembly 510 may drop to the
ground and the aircraft 100A may proceed forward to clear the cargo assembly
510.
The unloaded aircraft 100A may then be loaded with another cargo assembly or
take-off
to the next desired location.
[0053] In an yet another alternative embodiment, the cargo assembly may
remain
mounted onto the spine with only the contents of the cargo assembly being
released.
Such an embodiment is particularly useful in military applications, as shown
in FIGS. 7
through 10.
[0054] FIGS. 7 and 9 show an aircraft embodiment 100B in which the side
fairing
panels 160 further comprise a plurality of subpanels 170 which are retractable
to
expose a portion of the cargo assembly 400 mounted onto the spine 120. The
cargo
assembly 400 may be configured to house weapons and ammunition. To that end,
the
12

CA 02747596 2011-07-29
Attorney Docket No. 70006-00012
cargo assembly 400 may comprise a combination of modular frames 410A, B, C and

modular weapon bays 420A, B, C coupled together by attachments 450. The
structural
frames 410A, B, C may be configured to house cargo 412 and fuel 414, while the

modular weapon bays 420 A, B, C may house various types of weapons, ammunition
or
artillery. As shown in FIG. 9, subpanel 175 is retracted while the aircraft
1008 is in flight
to allow firing of ammunition 177 from a weapon that is housed in an exposed
modular
weapon bay.
[0055] FIG. 8A-B depict another embodiment of a cargo assembly comprising a
plurality of modular weapon bays 714, 716 housed within a plurality of
structural frames
710A-F coupled together by attachments 750. Modular weapon bay 714 is
laterally
oriented such that ammunition may be fired when the corresponding subpanel 170
is
retracted. Similarly, modular weapon bay 716 is oriented downward towards the
ground
such that, when mounted onto the aircraft spine, ammunition is fired or
dropped
therefrom. One or more bladders 712 comprising fuel or other liquids may
optionally be
stored.
[0056] FIG. 10 shows an embodiment in which the bombs or ammunition 165 are
dropped or fired through the opened lower fairing doors 164. Again, in such an

embodiment, the cargo assembly may be used to house artillery from which
ammunition
165 may be launched through the open lower fairing doors 165 while the
aircraft 100B is
in flight.
[0057] It is to be understood that the detailed description and specific
examples,
while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by
way of
illustration and not limitation. Many changes and modifications within the
scope of the
present invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and
the
invention includes all such modifications.
13

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date 2018-06-05
(22) Filed 2011-07-29
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2012-01-29
Examination Requested 2016-07-21
(45) Issued 2018-06-05

Abandonment History

There is no abandonment history.

Maintenance Fee

Description Date Amount
Last Payment 2019-07-03 $200.00
Next Payment if small entity fee 2020-07-29 $100.00
Next Payment if standard fee 2020-07-29 $200.00

Note : If the full payment has not been received on or before the date indicated, a further fee may be required which may be one of the following

  • the reinstatement fee set out in Item 7 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules;
  • the late payment fee set out in Item 22.1 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules; or
  • the additional fee for late payment set out in Items 31 and 32 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules.

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Filing $400.00 2011-07-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2013-07-29 $100.00 2013-07-05
Registration of Documents $100.00 2013-12-19
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2014-07-29 $100.00 2014-07-11
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2015-07-29 $100.00 2015-07-08
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2016-07-29 $200.00 2016-07-06
Request for Examination $800.00 2016-07-21
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2017-07-31 $200.00 2017-07-25
Final Fee $300.00 2018-04-19
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 7 2018-07-30 $200.00 2018-07-04
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 8 2019-07-29 $200.00 2019-07-03
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
BIOSPHERE AEROSPACE, LLC
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
HELOU, ELIE, JR.
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Document
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Date
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Abstract 2011-07-29 1 26
Description 2011-07-29 13 652
Claims 2011-07-29 4 109
Drawings 2011-07-29 11 273
Representative Drawing 2012-01-19 1 14
Cover Page 2012-01-19 2 52
Claims 2016-07-21 3 96
Assignment 2011-07-29 4 115
Assignment 2013-12-19 3 90
Prosecution-Amendment 2016-07-21 7 199
Correspondence 2016-07-21 2 51
Prosecution-Amendment 2017-06-13 4 152
Prosecution-Amendment 2017-07-17 5 170
Description 2017-07-17 13 599
Correspondence 2018-02-19 1 34
Correspondence 2018-04-19 2 44
Representative Drawing 2018-05-04 1 10
Cover Page 2018-05-04 1 42