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Feb. 26, 1963 3,078,940 s; D. ROLLE PROPELLANT ENERGIZED GROUND EFFECT MACHINE Filed March 3, 1961 iIJlinn!)‘. . I9. /‘ a a a .i av», 7 w.m2 22 mx 0_\ \\ xI "m1 /, 5 INVENTOR. SYLVAN D. ROLLE ; BY 61 J. .7901‘; "4} $4, 9L! . FM ATTORNEYS United States Patent 1 11 3,678,940 Patented Feb. 26, 1963 2 3,078,940 PROPELLANT ENERGIZED GROUND EFFECT MACHINE Sylvan D. Rolle, Philadelphia, Pa., assignor to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army, Filed Mar. 3, 1961, Ser. No. 93,276 5 Claims. (Cl. 180-7) (Granted under Title 35, U.S. Code (1952), sec. 266) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment to me of any royalty thereon. ‘detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference nu merals designate like parts throughout the ?gures and wherein: FIG. 1 is a simplified diagrammatic view, partly in vertical section, of an embodiment of the invention em ploying a single ejector only; FIG. 2 is a view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 looking up from the bottom, showing one of the col-‘ 10 lapsing means partially extended; and FIG. 3 is a modi?cation of the collapsing means of FIG. 2, with details omitted. Referring now to the drawings, there is shown gen erally at 10 a ground e?ect machine having a support This invention relates to vehicles which travel in close 15 platform 11 made of a strong pliable fabric. The plat proximity to a sub-surface and are known as gas-cushion form has a ?exible curtain 12 depending therearound vehicles or ground e?ect machines. More particularly, which is conveniently a resilient material such as rub the invention concerns such vehicles which are motivated ber, or optionally, may partake of a brush-like material, by gas generating means and wherein the vehicle platform which functions to aid in retaining the pressure between is made completely collapsible. ' Heretofore, vehicles of the aforementioned type were energized by motor-driven fans or air pumps. These 20 the platform and the sub-surface. A hub 13, centrally located of the platform 11 and rigidly secured thereto, has a plurality of radially extending telescoping mem bers 14 circumferentially spaced therearound for extend ing the platform when ready for use. The telescoping mechanical devices were so arranged that air, at a low pressure of the order of a few pounds per square foot, was permitted to be directed into the space below the 25 members are illustrated as being below the platform but, vehicle platform and the sub-surface to maintain the if desired, may be enclosed completely within the plat vehicle a short distance above the sub-surface. A por form fabric. The outer telescoping elements are con tion of this air could then be controllably diverted to nected to the platform fabric at 15 while the inner nozzles adjustably mounted above or below the platform elements are ‘secured to the hub at 16, both of which to provide directed propulsion of the vehicle. 30 may be achieved by any well known methods. Vehicles of this type possess serious disadvantages. For example, they are bulky and cumbersome due to the weight of the fan or pumping mechanism which necessitates a heavy and rigid platform. Since the pri mary objective in the design of these vehicles is to achieve a high load transport per pound of fuel ratio, it is ap parent that the ef?ciencies of such vehicles leave much to be desired. ' A further disadvantage of current ground e?ect ma FIG. 2 clearly illustrates the collapsibility of my in ventive device, it being apparent from the drawing that when the lower left hand telescoping member is caused to be fully extended, the platform will be in operable condition, or as shown by the dotted lines. . Each set of telescoping tubes may optionally contain an actuating cartridge therein, much like the Aircraft Personnel Catapult or canopy remover, for extending the tubes when the respective cartridges are fired. The chines is their inability to operate satisfactorily under 40 Aircraft Personnel Catapult and canopy remover are de severe arctic conditions which is attributable primarily scribed in the September 1955 publication of Aeronauti to the internal combustion engine‘ makeup. Again, these cal Engineering Review in an article entitledFEscape vehicles require considerable space when not in use. From High-Speed Aircr‘af ” by R. Frost. The tele~ The hovering performances of ground e?’ect machines scoping tube structure, shown herein has been found to 45 are improved when their dimensions are increased. Brie?y, I am able to overcome these and other dis-~ advantages by employing a solid or liquid rocket-like propellant in a gas generator as the energizing means and an ejector, or a plurality of ejectors, cooperating therewith for augmenting the propulsive and/ or lifting thrust. Since there are no moving parts to my inven tive device, the platform may adequately be fabricated from a light-weight material and fully collapsible or in?atable. It is therefore a broad object of this invention to pro vide an efficient ground effect machine. Another object of the invention is to provide such a be equally applicable to the peripheral jet type ground effect machine. An ejector 17 is mounted through the platform and is illustrated concentrically disposed within hub 13 al though it may desirably be positioned outside the hub. It will be understood, of course, that a plurality of ejectors will normally be employed in the practice of my invention. Ejector 17 is conventional, having a primary nozzle (not shown) to which is supplied, through a high pres sure passageway 18, a gas at a pressure of the order of 1000 psi. from a gas generator 20, suitably supported The generator may con tain a solid or liquid propellant which is actuated by a or used ground effect machines. mechanical or electric igniter 22. The ejector has the A further object of the invention is to provide a ground 60 customary air inlet 23 through which ambient air is en machine which is lighter in weight than currently known effect machine, which, when fully collapsed, is a com pact, light-weight structure, and yet capable of being thus stored for long periods of time without requiring inspection or suffering deterioration. Still another object of the invention is to provide a ground effect machine which is equally operable in mod on platform 11 by a brace 21. trained by the propellant gas to be exhausted downwardly through the ejector diffuser at much lower temperatures and pressures than that of the entering propellant gas. Additionally, if the mixing process within the ejector is is e?icient, i.e., the air is mixed with the propellant gas in the ratio of about 10 to 1, the momentum of the erate, arctic or tropic atmospheres and which can be mixed streams will far exceed that of the propellant gas readied for use in very short periods of time. to provide increased thrust of the vehicle. Other objects and many of the attendant advantages 70 A portion of the propellant gas may be controllably of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following diverted from passageway 18 into adjoining passageway 24 by means of valve 25, and then exhausted through 3,078,940 3 propulsion nozzle 26 to provide cruise performance to the vehicle. The propulsion nozzle may similarly be 4 In comparison therewith, a present art machine capable of similar transport, and using a gasoline engine with fan and accessories, will weigh about 300 pounds ex an ejector-type device, and is pivotally mounted at 27 to clusive of any payload. 1 tube 18 by any well known methods for varying the From the foregoing, it is apparent that through my direction of thrust‘o'f the ‘machine. inventive device, I have provided a unique ground effect In the modi?cation of FIG. 3, the telescoping tubes machine which is characterized by its extreme lightness have been replaced by appendages 28 which are hinged in weight, inherent reliability under severe atmospheric at 29 to permit extension thereof as shown generally conditions and its ability to be stored compactly for ex at 30. The appendages are secured to the hub and plat 10 tended periods and yet be’ capable of being readied for form analogous to telescoping members 14 of FIG. 2. emergency use in the shortest intervals of time. In the operation of my inventive vehicle, platform 11 I claim: is allowed to become fully extended through the tele 1. In a collapsible light-weight ground effect machine, scoping tube or appendage assembly and the gas gen said machine being devoid of fans, pumping mechanisms, erator'propellant ignited. The generator gas is fed into the ejector through tube 18 and is mixed with the ‘air 15 engines and moving parts, the combination comprising a pliable platform, a ?exible curtain peripherally de entering the ejector air inlet 23, and thence discharged pending from said platform, gas generating means sup through the dilfuser. Since the ground effect machine ported on the platform and containing a propellant, other is capable of traveling over sub-surfaces including com means for igniting said propellant, an ejector receiving bustible terrain, such as dried grass and the like, the ejector serves an added purpose of lowering the dis 20 gases generated by the propellant and having a diffuser exhausting said gases to the underside of said platform, charge temperature of the hot propellant gases to about a propulsion nozzle mounted above the platform in com 200° F. These cooler discharged gases also aid in pre municating relation with the generator, 2. central hub venting the fabric platform from igniting, are less hazard affixed to the platform, a plurality of spaced radially ous to the vehicle operator, and in military maneuvers, extensible members fastened to said hub, each of said offer no undesirable'night-time signatures. members having its outermost portion secured to a cor < When the platform has been suf?ciently raised over responding section of the platform periphery. the sub-surface, a small quantity of the propellant gases 2. The device of claim 1 wherein each of said radially may be controllably exhausted from the propulsion nozzle extensible members comprises telescoping tubes for col to provide directional thrust to. the vehicle. By way of further explanation, the following example 30 lapsing the machine into a compact unit. 3. The device of claim 1 wherein each of said radially is cited for the purpose of illustrating a typical ground extensible members comprises hinged appendages for col effect machine of the present invention, it being under lapsing the machine into a compact unit. stood that the invention is not to be considered as being 4. The device of claim 1 further characterized by a limited to the speci?c variables selected. As it will be control valve interposed between the gas generator and apparent to those skilled in this art, a wide variety of propellants, platform materials, etc., such as disclosed hereinbefore may be employed in the device contemplated herein: Propellant-solid, nitroglycerine-nitrocellulose Igniter-electric Ejectors-one; single nozzle; di?user angle at 20“ using Blowing Boundary Layer Control Platform fabric—,reinforced “nylon”; when extended-— ' about 10 x 8 feet Collapse’structure—4 telescoping tube assemblies, ex posed underneath platform, cartridge actuated Flexible, curtain—1/2" rubber ' ‘ propulsion nozzle. 7 5. The device of claim 4 further characterized by a pivotal connection between said gas generator and con trol valve, said connection providing directional thrust 40 to said machine. References Cited in the ?le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,375,601 Morize _____________ __ Apr. 19, 1921 1,838,354 2,886,265 Bauer _______________ __. Dec. 29, 1931 Ritter et al. _________ __ May 12, 1959 OTHER REFERENCES A ground el‘r'ect machine made in accordance with 50 Publication: “Aviation Week”; July 6, 1959; pages 115 the afore-described conditions and having about 54 and 116. pounds propellant, has been found adequate to propel Publication: “Design News”; May 23, 1960; pages 6 a 400 pound payload about 5 miles at approximately 60 and 7. mph. It should be noted that the entire device, ex clusive of the payload, will weigh only about 1200 pounds.