Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ANTI-SINKING AND ANTI-FIRE EMERGENCY SYSTEM FOR AIRCRAFT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/203385
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, adapted to ensure the protection against fire and the flotation of any aircraft in case of sea landing, consisting of: A) inflatable devices (100), placed in the upper internal technical space (201) of the fuselage (200) in a first deflated configuration and susceptible of switching to a second inflated configuration having a predetermined volume significantly greater than the volume of said first deflated configuration; B) dispensers (103), connected to said inflatable devices (100), placed in the upper internal technical space (201), adapted to pass said inflatable devices (100) from said first deflated configuration to said second inflated configuration, by dispensing a predetermined quantity of non-inflammable foam (106) at their interior; C) activation means (104), connected to said dispensers (103), adapted to actuate them on the user's control; D) control system (105) adapted to allow the remote activation of all activation means (104) installed on the aircraft.

Inventors:
GAETA, Carmine
Application Number:
IB2017/052767
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 11, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
S.P.I.G.A. S.A.S. DI GAETA CARMINE (Via Matteotti 22, Avellino, I-83100, IT)
International Classes:
A62C2/06; A62C3/08; B64D11/00; B64D11/06; B64D25/00
Foreign References:
US20070007384A12007-01-11
US4121790A1978-10-24
DE10245831A12004-04-15
GB2255502A1992-11-11
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIAMMENGHI, Eva et al. (Via delle Quattro Fontane 31, Roma, I-00184, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, adapted to ensure the protection against fire and the flotation of any aircraft in case of sea landing, characterized in that it is constituted at least by:

A) a plurality of inflatable devices (100), placed in the upper internal technical space (201) of the fuselage (200), characterized by an elastic external surface (102) that is resistant to perforation and abrasion, set in a first deflated configuration characterized in that it occupies the least possible space, said inflatable devices (100) being susceptible of irreversibly passing to a second inflated configuration provided with a predetermined volume considerably greater than the volume of said first deflated configuration, the volume being occupied by all of said inflatable devices (100) in said second inflated configuration equal to the entire available volume in said upper internal technical space (201);

B) a plurality of dispensers (103), connected to said inflatable devices (100), placed in the upper internal technical space (201) of the fuselage (200), in a place that allows the periodic servicing thereof, adapted to pass said inflatable devices (100) from said first deflated configuration to said second inflated configuration, by dispensing a predetermined quantity of non-inflammable foam (106) at their interior;

C) a plurality of activation means (104), connected to said dispensers (103), adapted to actuate the relative dispensers (103) upon remote control of the user;

D) a control system (105), constituted by a common processor (109), provided with a communication interface (101) with the user, adapted to allow the remote activation of all the activation means (104) installed on the aircraft.

2. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, characterized in that it is constituted at least by:

A) a plurality of dispensers (103), placed in the upper internal technical space (201) of the fuselage (200), in a place that allows the periodic servicing thereof, adapted to dispense into the upper internal technical space (201) of the aircraft a predetermined quantity of non-inflammable foam (106) adapted to assume an expanded configuration such to fill all the available volume;

B) a plurality of activation means (104), connected to said dispensers (103), adapted to actuate the relative dispensers (103) upon remote control of the user;

C) a control system (105), constituted by a common processor (109), provided with a communication interface (101) with the user, adapted to allow the remote activation of all the activation means (104) installed on the aircraft.

3. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to one of the preceding claims 1 or 2, characterized in that each dispenser (103) is connected to only one inflatable device (100).

4. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims 1, 2 or 3, characterized in that each activation means (104) is connected to only one dispenser (103).

5. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said dispensers (103) are placed at regular distance intervals comprised between 30 cm and 100 cm, preferably 50 cm.

6. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to the preceding claim 5, characterized in that it is provided at least with two symmetric rows of inflatable devices (100), one at the right side and one at the left side of the fuselage (200).

7. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to the preceding claim 6, characterized in that it is also provided with at least one third row of inflatable devices (100) placed at the central longitudinal axis of the fuselage (200), or with a plurality of further rows of inflatable devices (100) arranged symmetrically with respect to said central longitudinal axis of the fuselage (200).

8. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the volume occupied by said inflatable devices (100) in said second inflated configuration, or by said non-inflammable foam (106) in said expanded configuration, coincides with the sum of the entire volume available in the upper internal technical space (201) and of the volume comprised between the ceiling (204) of the internal useful space (202), the lateral surfaces (205. a) of the overhead compartments (205) and the horizontal plane (X) at the lower edge of said overhead compartments (205); said ceiling (204) being adapted to be moved in vertical direction up to the height of said horizontal plane (X) in order to allow the expansion of said inflatable devices (100) or of said non-inflammable foam (106).

9. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it is provided with at least one pair of dispensers (103) each connected to the corresponding activation means (104), controlled by the user by means of said control system (105), adapted to fill the internal space of each of the wings (208) with non-inflammable foam (106).

10. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it is provided with a plurality of inflatable devices (100), positioned at each row of seats (207), in the space comprised between the lower surface of the seats (207) and the floor (206), each of said inflatable devices (100) being connected to a relative dispenser (103) adapted to release inside the inflatable device (100), upon command of a corresponding activation means (104), a predetermined quantity of non-inflammable foam (106) adapted to be expanded inside said inflatable device (100) until it is made to assume said inflated configuration; said activation means (104) being controlled by said control system (105). 11. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said non-inflammable foam (106) is constituted by any one polymer that can be found on the market, preferably expanded polyurethane, adapted to quickly increase volume once outside said dispenser (103), and adapted to maintain over time the characteristics of fire resistance and buoyancy.

12. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that all said activation means (104) are connected to at least one inertial sensor (111) adapted to automatically actuate said activation means (104) if an impact was detected that exceeded a predetermined tolerance threshold.

13. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it is also constituted by a plurality of dispensers (103), connected to the relative activation means (104), adapted to fill the internal space of the overhead compartments (205) with a predetermined quantity of foam (106. a) adapted to sublimate in a known time interval.

14. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said control system (105) allows the user the possibility to select which activation means (104) to activate. 15. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said control system (105) is also provided with a plurality of sensors (110), connected to said processor (109), adapted to carry out, at predetermined time intervals, a verification of operation of the entire system and adapted to communicate to the user the outcome of said verification by means of said communication interface (101).

16. Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft, according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the external surface of the fuselage (200) is provided with a plurality of coupling devices (107) adapted to allow the evacuated passengers to be stably bound to the aircraft while awaiting rescue, due to the suitable rescue lines (108) arranged on the life preservers.

Description:
"Anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft"

Description Field of the invention

The present invention relates to the field of emergency systems, particularly those for aircraft and, in detail, it relates to the devices to be used in the event of sea landing.

Prior art

The different types of aircraft have always been subject to emergency landings, which do not always take place on a runway or landing surface.

It is known that many problems may occur on an aircraft that could lead to an emergency landing. Many of these problems can also occur when the aircraft is far from the landing strip, and for example in open sea. In detail, engine problems, shortages of fuel supply, bird- strike, fire or rudder, aileron and/or flap control locking may occur, for example due to ice, such as to prevent the normal continuation of the flight.

Many times, therefore, emergency landing is in fact sea landing. This occurs when the aircraft is located too far from the runway to attempt a landing with a certain safety margin, or this occurs if the aircraft is unable to maintain the power or lift needed to continue the flight up to a compact ground.

Although emergency landing often has a number of problems and risks, sea landing is by far the most dangerous operation for both the aircraft and its passengers, due to the type of fluid on which the plane impacts and to the considerable distance from rescue.

Typically, during sea landing, a partial or total failure of the fuselage may occur. This leads to the risk of leaks that could carry water into the aircraft. In many cases of sea landing, in particular when this occurs with significantly large angles of incidence and/or at high speed, the fuselage body typically collapses entirely, separating the aircraft into two or more pieces. Another risk of sea landing is the loss of one or more wings. Due their natural lightness and since prior to sea landing they are typically emptied of fuel, wings are actually the aircraft components that mostly slow down or prevent sinking. However, the observations of aircraft accidents observed for sea landing, it was realized that the wings are not sufficient to maintain the buoyancy of the aircraft.

It was also found that precisely the non-floating and the subsequent sinking of the aircraft are one of the major dangers immediately after impact with the water.

A large number of patents relating to emergency equipment in the event of sea landing are known: they consist of several possible configurations of automatic or manual inflatable devices that attempt to support the aircraft afloat, very often without success and with technical difficulties during the installation of such devices.

Another problem unresolved thus far is the need to recover the wreckage of the aircraft after sinking, a phase characterized by an enormous waste of effort and money to make underwater research and bring everything on land.

The object of the present invention is to describe a system, installable also on existing aircraft without modifications to the structure, which is helpful in various emergencies, in particular sea landing, allowing easy retrieval of the wrecks, ensuring their buoyancy and making them useful to save the lives of passengers.

Summary of the invention

According to the present invention, an emergency system is provided, especially adapted in case of sea landing, fire on board and, where applicable, emergency landing, applicable on all aircraft such as airliners, military aircraft, helicopters, etc.

Said emergency system uses the upper internal technical space 201 as buoyancy reserve in the event of sea landing and does not require the installation of any components on the outside of fuselage 200, all devices being advantageously hidden in the internal technical spaces of the aircraft. Said system also advantageously uses the non-inflammable foam 106 that is dispensed in place of air to act as a floating element able to support the weight of the entire fuselage 200 in case of sea landing, so that a part of the latter always remains afloat. Said non-inflammable foam 106 can be advantageously released inside special inflatable devices 100 located in the upper internal technical space 201.

Advantageously, said inflatable devices 100 are in a first deflated configuration in which they occupy the least possible space and are provided with an elastic external anti- perforation surface 102 able to assume, when filled with foam 106, a second inflated configuration, characterized by a significantly larger volume than said first deflated configuration.

Said non-inflammable foam 106 advantageously consists of any rapid expansion polymer able to maintain fire resistance and buoyancy over time.

Advantageously, said non-inflammable foam 106 is stored, in normal flight conditions, in special dispensers 103 connected to the corresponding activation means 104. In case of an emergency, through the appropriate control system 105, the user actuates said activation means 104 which open said dispensers 103, thereby allowing them to release all the non- inflammable foam 106 contained.

Advantageously, it is preferable that each activation means 104 corresponds to a single dispenser 103 and that each dispenser 103 corresponds to a single inflatable device 100, if present.

Advantageously, at least two rows of activation means 104, dispensers 103 and inflatable devices 100 are provided, arranged symmetrically with respect to the central longitudinal axis of fuselage 200, but this does not limit the installation of further rows as long as the symmetry with respect to said central axis is maintained. The preferred distance interval between one dispenser 103 and the next is about 50 cm, but it can advantageously range between 30 cm and 100 cm depending on the capacity of each dispenser 103.

Advantageously, said non-inflammable foam 106, be it contained in inflatable devices 100 or not, is adapted to occupy all the available space in said upper internal technical space 201, and optionally also the space between ceiling 204, the lateral surfaces 205. a of the overhead compartments 205 and the horizontal plane X located at the lower edge of the said overhead compartments 205. In the latter case, ceiling 204 is advantageously adapted to be moved down to the height of said plane X to make room for the expansion of the non-inflammable foam 106.

Other dispensers 103, connected to the relative activation means 104, can advantageously be located inside wings 208 to try to prevent the detachment thereof from fuselage 200 and, in any case, prevent fuel spillage from tanks 209.

Advantageously, dispensers 103 with the relative activation means 104 may also be located in the overhead compartments 205 but this particular area of the aircraft, the released foam 106. a will be adapted to sublimate after a known time.

Advantageously, inflatable devices 100 with relative dispenser 103 and activation means 104 connected to the control system 105 may also be installed in the space between the lower surface of each row of seats 207 and floor 206, adapted to be filled with non-inflammable foam 106, in case of an emergency, up to achieve an inflated configuration that occupies all the space available between said lower surface of seats 207 and said floor 206.

Advantageously, said control system 105 is adapted to allow the user to select the area of the aircraft in which the activation means 104 are to be actuated, separating the foam dispenser

106 in the upper internal technical space 201, in wings 208 and in the overhead compartments 205.

Advantageously, said control system 105 consists of a processor 109 and a communication interface 101 that allows the user to act on the activation means 104. Said processor 109 may also be connected to at least one inertial sensor 111 which advantageously automatically actuates said activation means 104 when a collision exceeding a preset tolerance threshold is detected.

Advantageously, said control system 105 may be connected to a plurality of sensors 110 that, at regular and programmed time intervals, carry out a functionality check of all parts of the emergency system, reporting the results to the user through said communication interface 101.

A further advantage of the emergency system of the present patent is the possibility to install a plurality of coupling devices 107 on the external upper surface of fuselage 200, to which the passengers, once out of fuselage 200, can fasten themselves through the appropriate lifelines 108 available on each life jacket.

Description of the figures

The anti-sinking and anti-fire emergency system for aircraft will be described in one or more preferred and non-limiting embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

- FIGURE 1 shows a longitudinal section of fuselage 200 of an aircraft, in which an internal useful space 202 is shown, with the rows of seats 207, delimited by floor 206 that separates it from the lower internal technical space 203, and by ceiling 204 and the overhead compartments 205 that separate it from the upper internal technical space 201, the arrangement of the inflatable devices 100 at regular intervals is shown within the latter;

- FIGURE 2 shows a cross section of fuselage 200 which shows wings 208, the internal useful space 202 with the rows of seats 207, delimited by floor 206 that separates it from the lower internal technical space 203 and from ceiling 204 and by the overhead compartments 205, of which also the lateral surfaces 205. a are shown, which separate it from the upper internal technical space 201, inside the latter are three rows of inflatable devices 100 in a first deflated configuration, connected each to a corresponding dispenser 103 in turn connected to the relative activation means 104;

- FIGURE 3 shows the same cross section of FIG. 2 above with the aircraft half-sunk up to sea level l.m. the inflatable devices 100 in a second inflated configuration which occupy the entire volume available in the upper internal technical space 201, ceiling 204 is also shown which, by sliding along the lateral surfaces 205. a of the overhead compartments 205, arrives up to the horizontal plane X to leave more expansion space to the inflatable devices 100;

- FIGURE 4 shows a three-dimensional view of the interior of a wing 208 in which there are the fuel tanks 209, at the connection of wing 208 with fuselage 200 is the activation means 104 of a dispenser 103 that allows filling all the internal volume of wing 208 represented by the grey area with foam 106;

- FIGURE 5 shows a cross section of fuselage 200 which shows wings 208, the internal useful space 202 with the rows of seats 207, delimited by floor 206 that separates it from the lower internal technical space 203 and from ceiling 204 and by the overhead compartments 205, of which also the lateral surfaces 205. a are shown, which separate it from the upper internal technical space 201, inside the latter are two rows of inflatable devices 100 in a first deflated configuration, connected each to a corresponding dispenser 103 in turn connected to the relative activation means 104, into the overhead compartments 205 is a dispenser 103 connected to the relative activation means 104 and the internal space of said overhead compartments 205 is shown filled with foam 106. a that will sublimate at a later time;

- FIGURE 6 shows a three-dimensional view of the aircraft landed at sea in which passengers are fastened to fuselage 200 through coupling devices 107 located on the outer surface thereof and lifelines 108 arranged on the life jackets;

- FIGURE 7 shows a block diagram of the operation of the control system 105 that shows the communication interface 101 with the user, processor 109 that receives data from sensors 110 connected to the activation means 104 and from the inertial sensors 111 and separately sends controls to said activation means 104 based on the installation point, each activation means 104 is connected to the relative dispenser 103 which can be connected to the relative inflatable device 100 or cause the free release of non- inflammable foam 106-106. a, as in the case of wings 208 or the overhead compartments 205.

- FIGURE 8 shows the position of further inflatable devices 100 provided with corresponding dispensers 103 and activation means 104, in the space between the underside of seats 207 and floor 206.

Detailed description of the invention With reference to FIG. 1 shows a common airliner in which the emergency system object of the present patent is installed. As can be seen in the drawing, the system operation does not require any structural work or the installation of parts on the outside of the aircraft.

The internal space of the aircraft is divided into said upper internal technical space 201, in which there are wiring and equipment, an internal useful space 202, where seats 207 and user's passage spaces are, and a lower internal technical space 203 usually occupied by luggage and other stowage spaces. All the system components are installed in said upper internal technical space 201 at regular intervals of between 30 cm and 100 cm, preferably 50 cm and are arranged symmetrically with respect to the central longitudinal axis of fuselage 200.

This fractionated distribution of the emergency devices ensures buoyancy and fire protection in any part of the aircraft landed at sea, also in case of break into several parts as a result of the impact with water.

The main innovation of the present invention consists in the use of non-inflammable foam 106 instead of air. Said non-inflammable foam 106 consists, in the preferred embodiment, of expanded polyurethane foam or any other rapid expansion polymer that maintains the characteristics of fire resistance (at least REI 120) and buoyancy over time following the expansion.

Said non-inflammable foam 106 is, in regular flight conditions, contained within a plurality of dispensers 103 connected to a plurality of activation means 104. Preferably, without limitation, each activation means 104 is connected to a single dispenser 103.

In case of an emergency, the flight captain may, through the communication interface 101 of the control system 105, switch on said activation means 104 which, by opening dispensers 103 connected therewith, will be responsible for the expansion of the non-inflammable foam 106 throughout the volume available in the upper internal technical space 291 of fuselage 200. A version of the present invention may also be provided, in which the volume of the non-inflammable foam 106, when expanded, exceeds the volume of the upper internal technical space 201. In this case, ceiling 204 of the internal useful space 202 will have the possibility to move down up to the height of the lower edge of the overhead compartments 205, sliding on the lateral surfaces 205. a of the latter, so as to leave the space required for the expansion of said non-inflammable foam 106.

Although the amount of non-inflammable foam 106 is calculated in advance not to exceed the available space during the expansion, the preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates the arrangement of a plurality of inflatable devices 100, one at each dispenser 103, within which the non-inflammable foam 106 can expand in a controlled manner. The outer surface of said inflatable devices 100 consists of any waterproof polymer able to expand considerably with respect to the initial surface and able to resist perforation and abrasions.

In this way, due to the calculated and controlled expansion of the non-inflammable foam 106, the passengers will have a sufficient internal useful space 202 to move up to reach the emergency exits in the event of sea landing.

The same system consisting of activation means 104 connected to dispensers 103 may be installed inside wings 208. The expansion of the non-inflammable foam 106 within the internal space of wings 208 allows containing the fuel within tanks 209, avoiding the emptying thereof into the sea and eliminating the risk of fire and explosion. This additional equipment also has the ability to increase the overall buoyancy of the aircraft and reduce the risk of detachment of wings 208 from fuselage 200.

Let's consider now the case of an emergency landing, one of the risks for the passengers within the aircraft is the possibility that the overhead compartments 205 may open and hand luggage contained therein may fall, thereby hitting people. In case of an emergency landing, the flight captain, through the communication interface 101 of the control system 105, may also have the option to actuate the activation means 104 relative to dispensers 103 arranged within the overhead compartments 105. Foam 106. a, by expanding, will seal these spaces and prevent luggage from falling. The peculiarity of foam 106. a present into dispensers 103 of the overhead compartments 205 consists in that, unlike the non-inflammable foam 106 dedicated to other parts of the aircraft, it is designed to sublimate after a known time interval after its expansion. This will allow, at a later time, the recovery of luggage.

With reference to FIG. 7, the block diagram of the operation of the control system 105 is shown. Processor 109, which is the core of the system, communicates with the user through the communication interface 101. As can be seen in the diagram, in the preferred embodiment, processor 109 can receive information from two types of sensors: a plurality of control sensors 110 and one or more inertial sensors 111. The first type of sensors 110 is responsible for a functional check that is carried out automatically at preset time intervals and whose result is displayed by the user through said communication interface 101. This allows the timely replacement of any faulty or broken parts. The inertial sensors 111 instead are vibration detectors set with certain tolerance margins. When said margins are exceeded, for example in case of a violent impact, said inertial sensors 111, through processor 109, are responsible for the automatic actuation of the activation means 104 without the manual control of the user, who may be unable to launch the control. Again with reference to the diagram in figure 7, it is seen that in the preferred embodiment, the user can select the activation means 104 to be actuated, differentiating those relative to the upper internal technical space 201 from those relative to wings 208, from those relative to the overhead compartments 205.

The invention described herein ensures the partial buoyancy at least of fuselage 200 in case of emergency sea landing. The fact that the aircraft is at a height above sea level that is easily accessible helps the evacuated passengers to climb on the upper external surface of fuselage 200 waiting for rescue. Once the emerged part of the aircraft has been reached, users may have the opportunity to fasten themselves if each life jacket has been provided with special lifelines 108 to be tied to the plurality of coupling devices 107 optionally previously installed on the external surface of the aircraft.

If the designer of the emergency system described herein, in the case of a particular aircraft, calculated the need for increased buoyancy, said emergency system may further be provided with a plurality of inflatable devices 100, installed in the space between the underside of seats 207 and floor 206, as shown in FIG. 8. Of course, these further inflatable devices 100 are also connected each to a dispenser 103, and each dispenser 103 is connected to a relative activation means 104 controlled by the already described control system 105.