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'Jan. 7, 1947.
2,413,924 '
AIRCRAFT ms'mumanr
m“ Oct. 26. 1944
2 Sheets-Shut 1
54/1062 8.’ Kvox
Jan.‘ 7, v1947.
‘ >
s, s, KNOX
Filed‘ 0071;.‘ 25,. 1944
2,413,924 v
2 ‘Sheets-Sheet 2
Sonata 6.’ M/ox. -
Patented Jan. 7, 1947
Samuel S. Knox, Long Beach, Calif.
‘Application October 26, 1944, Serial No. 560,505
7 Claims. (Cl. 244-4)
This invention has to do with an aircraft in
strument and is more speci?cally concerned with
an instrument or unit of apparatus for indicat
involves elements that are extremely simple and
inexpensive of manufacture and when once in
stalled are not subject to improper operation.
ing the operative relationship between the
Another object of my invention is to provide a
ground and the landing wheels of an aeroplane, 5 visual or optical instrument of the general char
and it is a general object of the present inven
acter hereinabove referred to, operable at night
tion to provide a simple, practical, effective in
as well as during the day. My invention pro»
strument of this general character.
vides illuminating means making the instrument
In landing aeroplanes, and particularly when
useful even though the parts to be viewed are
handling large aeroplanes, di?culties are fre 10 not illuminated by daylight.
quently encountered when there is a substantial
Another object of my invention is to provide
diiference between the rotational speed of the
coordination between the aeroplane and the
treads of the landing wheels and the movement
ground or landing ?eld, whereby the pilot can
of the plane over the ground, commonly termed
accurately estimate the ground speed and where
the ground speed.
15 by the pilot is able to accurately compare the
To facilitate landing various means have been
ground speed with that of the wheels of the
proposed and used to eifect pro-rotation of the
aeroplane. With the information gained through
landing wheels of planes so that the rotational
the present apparatus the pilot can easily op
speeds of the peripheries of the wheels are sub
erate or regulate the pre-rotation units of the
stantially equal to the ground speed or to the
aeroplane wheels to gain almost perfect synchro
speed of movement of the plane relative to the
nism for landing.
ground. Even with such pre-rotation of the
The various objects and features of my inven
landing wheels di?iculties are experienced due
tion will be fully understood from the following
to diiferences in speed between the several land
detailed description of a typical preferred form
ing wheels, and due to the fact that it is practi 25 and application of the invention, throughout
cally impossible to gain exactly the same speed
which description reference is made to the ac
between the wheels and the ground. Reliance
companying drawings, in which:
of a pilot upon pre-rotation is very likely to
‘ Fig. 1 is a plan view of a typical unit of ap
cause difficulty, whereas if the pilot is fully ap
paratus embodying the present invention, show
prized of the lack of synchro-nism in the various so ing the manner in which such unit is related to
factors involved he is prepared to handle the
a typical aeroplane. Fig. 2 is a front end view
aeroplane accordingly.
of the apparatus of the present invention like
It is a general object of my present invention
wise indicating its application to a typical aero
to provide an instrument whereby a pilot can
plane. Fig. 3 is an enlarged detailed sectional
instantaneously ascertain the relationship of the 35 view of one portion of the apparatus that I have
factors hereinabove referred to so that he has
provided. Fig. 4 is a detailed sectional view taken
the information necessary to make a safe and
substantially as indicated by line 4—ll on Fig. 2.
proper landing. With the knowledge gained
Fig. 5 is an enlarged plan view taken as indi
from the instrument I have provided the shock
cated by line 5-5 on Fig. ll. Fig. 6 is a sectional
of landing can be minimized, making landings 40 view taken as indicated by line li—ii on Fig. 4.
safe and making it possible to lighten plane con
Fig. 7 is a view showing an aeroplane on a land
ing ?eld marked for coordination with the ap
It is another object of my invention to provide
paratus on the aeroplane. Fig. 8 is a perspective
apparatus such as I have referred to which is
view of one wheel of the aeroplane at the ground
an optical instrument, or in which the factors
or landing ?eld and showing the relationship of
are communicated to the pilot visually, making it
the markings provided on the wheel and ?eld.
unnecessary for him to read or compare instru
ments or indicators, such ,as speedometers or
The‘instrument that I have provided is useful,
generally, on aircraft to facilitate the landing
other like devices.
thereof. The invention is particularly usefu1 on
Another object of the invention is to provide 50 aeroplanes or heavier than air craft which have
an instrument of the general character herein
to be landed at high speeds. In the drawings
above referred to which is wholly free of me~
I have shown but one simple typical form of the
chanically moving or operating parts compli
invention and have indicated such form of the
cated or expensive of manufacture or subject to
invention as applied to a typical aeroplane. The
failure. The instrument that I have provided 55 aeroplane indicated, in the drawings includes a
fuselage A with a pilot’s compartment at B, land
ing wheels C located beneath wing W in opposite
directions from or at either side of the fuselage,
the wheels C being carried by a suitable support
ing gear D so that they are retractable and so
that they are spaced a substantial distance apart
laterally of the plane when lowered to be in op
erating position, as shown in Fig. 2 of the draw
upwardly through the tube to be passed there
from into the duct Y in case [2.
In the arrangement illustrated the viewing de
vice IQ is located between the wheels C and for
ward thereof and, therefore, each light conveying
tube provided for receiving light from a wheel C
has an outer end portion 39 which is vertically
disposed over the wheel, a horizontal and in
wardly extending lateral portion 3| which joins
The present invention also coordinates the 10 the upper end of the portion B? and extends to
a point near the center of the aeroplane, a for
aeroplane with the landing field by relating ref
erence marks E on the wheels C with reference
wardly extending axial portion 32 which projects
forward from the inner end of the lateral por
tion 3|, and a vertical inner end portion 33 which
extends upwardly from the forward end of the
axial portion 32. The outer portion 33 of each
tube is preferably located to point to or to face
the center of the wheel at which it is located.
can be corrected by suitable operation of the pre
The upper ends of the tube portions 33 com
rotation units G provided for the wheels.
The instrument that I have provided involves, 20 municate with ducts of the case I2 of means it,
the said portion of one such light conveying tube
generally, what I will term a viewing device I0
communicating with duct X while the said por
located so that it can be readily observed by the
marks F on the ?eld. The reference marks with
the aid of the instrument I have provided gives
the pilot accurate information as to the speed of
the wheels relative to the ground speed of the
aeroplane so that any appreciable discrepancy
pilot in the pilot compartment B of the plane,
tion of the other light conveying tube communi
and means II for projecting images of several
cates with duct Z.
I provide re?ectors 45 at the corners where the
different objects into the viewing device to be
there visible in side by side relationship for im
mediate comparison.
In large aeroplanes that carry a pilot, a co-pilot
and a ?ight engineer, the viewing device can be
light conveying tube portions join so that light
entering the upper ends of the tube portions 30
is reflected through the several portions of the
tubes to enter the ducts X and Z.
placed so that it will be operated by the flight 30
The means I I includes in addition to the tubes
engineer at times when not on automatic control.
hereinabove described a condensing lens 4: in
In practice the essential elements of the inven
connection with each tube, preferably where it
tion will vary with the number and location of
the objects to be viewed and with the structure
of the aeroplane in which the instrument is in
corporated. In an ordinary situation such as I
have illustrated in the drawings the pilot or other
joins a duct of the means [9, the several lenses
being such as to receive images from the tubes
and throw or project them through the ducts of
case l2 onto the ground glass [3.
It is to be understood that the tubes or various
person utilizing the information is supplied with
light conveying parts may, in practice, he of any
the desired information when supplied with a
desired shape or cross sectional con?guration. In
view of each of the two wheels C and the ground 40 the preferred form of the invention the several
over which the aeroplane is traveling. In this
tubes of the means ll may be made fairly large
particular case the viewing device is such as to
in cross sectional extent to pass a substantial
provide three images to be Viewed by the pilot,
amount of light, and it may not be desirable to
and there are three separate parts to the means
cast images on the ground glass as large as the
l'l, one for projecting an image of the ground
cross sectional areas of the tubes. In such case
over which the plane is operating and one for
the case l2 may be made tapered or convergent
projecting an image of each wheel C.
so that the end where the ground glass is located
The particular viewing device shown in the
is substantially smaller than the end to which the
drawings involves, generally, a case I2, tubular in
several tubes of means H are joined, and the
form and provided at its upper end with a screen
lenses 4! provided in the means Il may be de
or ground glass IS. The tubular case is provided
signed to cast images of the desired size on the
with partitions M which extend longitudinally
therein and divide the case into three light ducts
or passages X, Y and Z. The light ducts extend
from the lower end of the case to the upper end
where they are open to the ground glass I3.
Each of the several separate parts of the means
H] includes a light conveying tube having one end
facing an object to be viewed and the other end
facing one of the light ducts of the means Ill.
The light conveying tubes will, in practice, vary
in shape and extent depending upon the rela
ground glass 13.
In practice it is advantageous that the move
ments indicated on the ground glass l3, that is
the images of the wheels and of the ground,
should appear to be in the same direction so that
the pilot can readily compare them. To accom
plish this when the arrangement is such as I have
shown in the drawings I provide a reversing prism
50 in the tube passing the image of the ground so
that this image is reversed as otherwise it would
be moving in a direction opposite to that of the
tionship of the means IE! to the parts to be viewed.
In the particular case illustrated, which is a typi
In accordance with the preferred form of my
cal case, the tube 20 of one part of means H de 65 invention I provide a source of light, preferably a
signed to face the ground over which the plane
small spot-light, 60 at or near the outer end of
is operated, may be a straight tube extending
each of the tubes 20 of means II and the lights
downwardly from one of the light ducts of means
focused and directed so that when they are
H1, preferably the center light duct Y of the
energized they shine brightly upon the spot from
means If), as shown in Fig. 2 of the drawings.
which light is desired to be re?ected into the
This light conveying tube 20 is joined to the case
tubes. For instance the light on the center tube
[2 of means Ill and is open at each end and is
which faces the ground shines downwardly onto
free of obstructions so that light reflected from
the ground immediately under that tube, where
the ground over which the plane is traveling en
ters the open lower end of the tube and passes 75 as the other lights shine onto the wheels 0 imme
diatelyunder or inline with the light conveying
tubes facing the wheels.’
this connection, insofar as mypresent invention
In accordance with my invention I coordinate
the aeroplane to the landing ?eld so that the pilot
It will be apparent from the foregoing descrip
tion thatthe apparatus may be made wholly
or operators of the aeroplane can accurately de .5 automatic, that is, through electronic means or
termine the relationship between the speed of
other suitable means the ?ashing effect gained
rotation of the wheels of the aeroplane and the
at the ground glasses‘ of the viewing device can
land ‘speed of the aeroplane. This phase of my
be utilized as the means or medium for effecting
invention will be best understood from ‘a‘ consid
eration of Figs. 7 and 8 of the drawings.
In accordance with my invention I provide a
landing ?eld ‘Hl'with a series of markings or what
I will term reference marks ‘II which extend
adjustment of the pre-rotation units.
For in
stance, an electronic unit or units‘ can be provided
to operate under control of the ?ashes at the
ground glasses to regulate the control levers 92 or
equivalent control parts of the'pre-rotation units
transversely of the direction in which aeroplanes _ so that the‘ pre-rotating means are automatically
are to be landed. The reference marks may be 15 adjusted so that the wheels of the aeroplane are
operating in true synchronism with the ground
formed on the surface of the ?eld ‘ill in anysuit
speed when the aeroplane reaches the ground.
able manner so long as they optically differentiate
With the apparatus that I have provided light
from the background or balance of .the ?eld.’ _ In
practice they may be permanent markings or they
from the several objects, that is, from the two
may be markings such as are commonly used on
wheels C and from the surface of the landing
playing ?elds to designate areas of such ?elds.
?eld immediately under the plane, is reflected
through the tubes of the means I I and is directed
The markings ‘HI may extend a substantial dis
between lenses 4| so that several images are
tance along the ?eld and may be provided from
one end of the ?eld to the other. The markings
are lines of suitable width and are uniformly dis
posed transversely of the direction or length of
thrown on the ground glass l3.
These several
they are uniformly spaced and have a spacing
images, characterized by the ?ashes or flash-like
effect gained by the provision of the reference
marks on the ?eld and wheels, give the pilot a
view of the objects to which the tubes of the
de?nitely related to the aeroplane.
means H are faced and as the pilot is landing
the ?eld and, in accordance with my invention,
In accordance with my invention I relate the 30 he can glance at the ground glass where the
images are projected and if there is a substantial
spacing of the reference marks 1| on the landing
lack of synchronism between the wheels or be
?eld to reference marks 12 on the landing wheels
tween the wheels and ground speed, he can op
of the aeroplane. In the preferred form of my
erate the controls of the pre-rotating means to
invention I provide a. single reference mark on ,
bring about the necessary correction. For in
the peripheral portion of each landing wheel,
stance, in the case illustrated in the drawings
preferably a mark extending across the tread
the pilot can instantaneously view images of the
portion of the wheel, as shown in the drawings,
?eld immediately under the plane and the treads
and in the preferred relationship between the ref~
of the two wheels C. If there is any substantial
erence marks on the landing wheels and those on
the landing ?eld the marks on the ?eld are spaced 40 discrepancy or variation between the relative
speeds of these objects the pilot will be aware
apart a distance equal to the circumference of the
of that fact and in making a landing can either
vary or manipulate the pre-rotation equipment,
When the reference marks are used on the
if that is possible, or can handle the plane to
wheels of the aeroplane and the landing ?eld the 45 make the necessary compensations.
Viewing apparatus that I have described above
From the foregoing description it will be ap
will give a person in the aeroplane a view of the
parent that I have provided an optical instru
reference marks somewhat in the nature of
ment which is entirely free of working or moving
?ashes as the marks pass the viewing parts. For
parts subject to failure or which are heavy and
instance, as eachwheel revolves there will be a 50 complicated. The apparatus that I have pro
flash on the ground glass viewing that wheel each
vided, when once properly installed, remains
time the wheel turns, and in like fashion as the
static and is at all times available for use. Fur
aeroplane moves over the ground or landing ?eld
ther, it is important that the instrument that
the reference marks thereon will give ?ashes as
I have provided is wholly optical and is such
the viewing apparatus passes over them. A per 55 that a pilot can read it instantaneously and does
son in the aeroplane can readily observe the flash
not have to compare numerous dials or instru
ing effect gained by the reference marks on the
ment readings in order to ascertain the informa
two wheels and can bring the Wheels into proper
tion desired.
synchronism and the speed of both wheels can be
Having described only a typical preferred form
brought into proper synchronism with the ground
60 and application of my invention, I do not wish
speed through the knowledge gained by the
to be limited or restricted to the speci?c details
?ashes appearing at the viewing device.
herein set forth, but wish to reserve to myself
In the drawings I have indicated a pro-rotating
any variations or modi?cations that may appear
unit G at each landing wheel and have shown a
to those skilled in the art or fall within the
control 96 in the aeroplane adjacent the viewing 65 scope of the following claims.
unit 10. I have indicated the control 90 coupled
Having described my invention, I claim:
with each unit G by a suitable control connection
1. A landing ?eld for aeroplanes, the ?eld hav
9! and have shown individual control levers 92 at
ing a series of normally visible uniform and
the controlS? so that the wheels can be indi
equally spaced reference marks thereon extend
vidually controlled. It is to be understood that 70 ing transverse of the direction in which aero
my present invention is in no way concerned with
planes land thereon.
the means or mechanism used for effecting pre
2. A landing ?eld for aeroplanes, the ?eld hav
rotaticn of the wheels, nor with the means em
ing a series of reference marks thereon extend
ployed for effecting control of the pre-rotating
ing transverse of the direction in which aero
means. Any suitable apparatus can be used in 75 planes land thereon, the marks being uniformly
rection and being ‘such as 'tocoritrast optically
With‘the balanceof the ?eld,
' " ~
and. a viewing device for, viewing the, field and
3., A landing, ?eld for aeroplanes, the field;
which aeroplanes land'thereon, themarksbeing
controllable means for pre-rotating the wheels,
and a viewing devicerfor simultaneously viewing
erencefrnarks‘ thereon,’ and. an, aeroplane with
landing wheels having reference marksthereon
at the peripheral portions thereof, controllable
means for pie-rotating‘ the wheels, and a view
ingjdevipe for, viewing the ?eld and thewheels.
5. In combination a‘ landing, ?eld‘having a
series of spaced transversely‘ disposed visible ref erence marks thereon, and an aeroplane with
7.‘ In clornhinationv 'a_ landing‘ ?eld having a
aeroplane can view a‘ parttofl the ?eld and,‘ ob
serve the reference, marks asthe aeroplane ap
v '
seriesof; Spaced transversely. disposed-visible ref
erence marks thereon,)and_ an aeroplane with an
optical viewing, device whereby a person, in vthe
of the wheels bearingv the reference, marks.
series of spaced transversely disposed, visib'le' ref,
the ?eld beneath, the, aeroplane and the portions
. 4,. In combination a landing field‘ having a
proaches a landing-on the ?eld.
series of spaced transversely disposed visible ref
erencefmarks thereon, and, an,‘ aeroplane with
landing wheels. having reference marks; thereon,
spaced apart distances substantially-V equal to the
planes to land‘ on, the ?eld.
Q. In.‘combinationv a landing ?eld having a
having a: series off normally visible reference
marks thereon all extending, in the‘, ‘same,’ direc
tion and extending transverse.- of; the, direction in,
circumference of the landing. wheels of aero
landing. wheels‘, having reference marks. thereon,
controllable means for 'preerotating the wheels,
spaced. apart, and all; extend-121g‘; 1;“- t‘hei same ‘dis
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