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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
FLIGHT JACKET
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/204679
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A flight jacket (2) comprising a jacket body (4) and a pair of sleeves (6, 8) attached thereto, wherein a restraint cord (12) is mounted on each sleeve extending between a first position at or adjacent the wearer's shoulder and a second position at or adjacent the wearer's wrist; a restraint tether interface member (14) being slidably mounted on each restraint cord (12) for sliding movement between said first and second positions and being adapted to be coupled to a restraint tether (20) of an ejection seat, in use; an elongate enclosure (16) being provided on each sleeve (6, 8) adapted to enclose the restraint cord (12) of the respective sleeve when the respective interface member (14) is in said first position; each enclosure (16) being provided with a releasable fastener (18) extending there along and adapted to deploy the respective restraint cord (12) from its enclosure when a force is applied to the respective interface member (14) by a restraint tether, thereby permitting the interface member (14) to slide along the respective restraint cord (12).

Inventors:
CARMODY ORLAGH (GB)
ADAMS PAUL (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2021/058637
Publication Date:
October 14, 2021
Filing Date:
April 01, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COONEEN PROT LIMITED (GB)
International Classes:
B64D25/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRKELLY (IE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A flight jacket comprising a jacket body and a pair of sleeves attached thereto, wherein a restraint cord is mounted on each sleeve extending between a first position at or adjacent the wearer's shoulder and a second position at or adjacent the wearer's wrist; a restraint tether interface member being slidably mounted on each restraint cord for sliding movement between said first and second positions and being adapted to be coupled to a restraint tether of an ejection seat, in use; an elongate enclosure being provided on each sleeve adapted to enclose the restraint cord of the respective sleeve when the respective interface member is in said first position; each enclosure being provided with a releasable fastener extending therealong and adapted to deploy the respective restraint cord from its enclosure when a force is applied to the respective interface member by a restraint tether, thereby permitting the interface member to slide along the respective restraint cord towards said second position.

2. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 1 , wherein said releasable fastener of each enclosure comprise a zipper fastener having opposing rows of interlocking zipper closure elements and including a burst section at or adjacent said first position wherein the zipper closure elements of said zipper fastener in said burst section are devoid of interlocking formations to permit the respective interface member to pass between said zipper closure elements and to define a region of weakness of the respective zipper fastener whereby the zipper fastener is separable starting from said burst out section when a force is applied to the restraint tether interface member during ejection to release the respective restraint cord from its enclosure, facilitating deployment of the restraint cord during an ejection.

3. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 2, wherein said releasable fastener of each enclosure includes a slider for facilitating closure of said releasable fastener.

4. A flight jacket as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein each restraint cord is secured to a reinforced wrist section of the respective sleeve at or adjacent said second position.

5. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 4, wherein the reinforced wrist section of each sleeve is in the form of tape reinforcement secured to the sleeve.

6. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 5, wherein a cover is provided for protecting an end of the cord where attached to the reinforced wrist section.

7. A flight jacket as claimed in any preceding claim, each restraint cord is secured to an upper reinforced section of the respective sleeve at or adjacent said first position.

8. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 7, wherein said upper reinforced section is in the form of a fabric tape attached to the respective sleeve.

9. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 8, wherein said fabric tape extends across the back of the body of the jacket to provide a continuous path of reinforcement between the restraint cords of the sleeves.

10. A flight jacket as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the sleeves are detachable from the body of the jacket.

11. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 10, wherein the sleeves are attached to the jacket by zipper fasteners.

12. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 11 , wherein an opening is provided between the sleeves and the jacket body beneath the arms.

13. A flight jacket as claimed in any of claims 10 to 12, when dependent upon claim 9, wherein said fabric tape comprises a first section attached to a first sleeve of the jacket, a second section attached to a second sleeve of the jacket, said first and second sections of the fabric tape extending over a back of the jacket body and being releasably coupled together at or adjacent a central portion of the back of the jacket.

14. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 13, wherein said first and second tape sections are releasably attached to the back of the jacket body via hook and loop fasteners.

15. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 14, wherein overlapping ends of the first and second tape sections are releasably coupled together in a central region of the back of the jacket body by hook and loop fasteners.

16. A flight jacket as claimed in claim 15, wherein said overlapping ends of the first and second tape sections are covered by a flap, said flap being releasably secured to at least one of the tape sections by further layers of hook and loop fasteners.

Description:
Flight Jacket

FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a flight jacket and in particular to a flight jacket having an improved arm restraint system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Ejection seat stability has been identified as paramount in reducing injuries resulting from ejecting at high speeds from stricken aircraft. The correct positioning and restraint of an occupant of an ejection seat during ejection is essential for safe ejection. Whilst the main torso and the legs are typically catered for with very efficient well tested and proven restraint systems, the upper limbs (arms) are not protected to the same levels in most aircraft ejection seats. One of the key dangers when ejecting from an aircraft at high speed is limb flail. The arms of the seat occupant need to be free to operate the aircraft. However, upon ejection, if the seat occupant’s arms remain unrestrained they tend to flail due to inertia and windblast, which can result in serious injury. Furthermore, flailing limbs affect the aerodynamics of the seat and can result in instability of the seat during high speed ejection which can result in neck and other additional injuries to the occupant.

It is known to provide arm restraint systems for the occupant’s of ejection seats, wherein arm restraint tethers, typically coupled to the seat occupant’s wrists, are adapted to pull the arms down during ejection of the seat. A problem that has to be addressed by such arm restraint systems is to ensure that the arm restraint tethers operate reliably to restrain the arms upon ejection while not interfering with the normal movement of the occupant during operation of the aircraft. In ejection seats that are equipped with active arm restraint systems, such systems vary in their design configuration and methods of operation depending upon the design of the ejection seat. One constant is that the flight jacket of the aircrew member has to incorporate a pair of sleeves to present the appropriate arm restraint interface to the ejection seat. This interface varies across ejection seat types. Furthermore, the flight jacket has to be tailored to be a close fit for the restraint system to be effective. This can require a large number of differently sized jackets to be produced to provide the required fit for each person, increasing costs and logistics footprint.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided a flight jacket comprising a jacket body and a pair of sleeves attached thereto, wherein a restraint cord is mounted on each sleeve extending between a first position at or adjacent the wearer's shoulder and a second position at or adjacent the wearer's wrist; a restraint tether interface member being slidably mounted on each restraint cord for sliding movement between said first and second positions and being adapted to be coupled to a restraint tether of an ejection seat, in use; an elongate enclosure being provided on each sleeve adapted to enclose the restraint cord of the respective sleeve when the respective interface member is in said first position; each enclosure being provided with a releasable fastener extending therealong and adapted to deploy the respective restraint cord from its enclosure when a force is applied to the respective interface member by a restraint tether, thereby permitting the interface member to slide along the respective restraint cord towards said second position.

In one embodiment said releasable fastener of each enclosure may comprise a zipper fastener having opposing rows of interlocking zipper closure elements and including a burst section at or adjacent said first position wherein the zipper closure elements of said zipper fastener in said burst section are devoid of interlocking formations to permit the respective interface member to pass between said zipper closure elements and to define a region of weakness of the respective zipper fastener whereby the zipper fastener is separable starting from said burst out section when a force is applied to the restraint tether interface member during ejection to release the respective restraint cord from its enclosure, facilitating deployment of the restraint cord during an ejection. The releasable fastener of each enclosure may include a slider for facilitating closure of said releasable fastener. Each restraint cord may be secured to a reinforced wrist section of the respective sleeve at or adjacent said second position. The reinforced wrist section of each sleeve may be in the form of tape reinforcement secured to the sleeve. A cover may be provided for protecting an end of the cord where attached to the reinforced wrist section.

Each restraint cord may be secured to an upper reinforced section of the respective sleeve at or adjacent said first position. The upper reinforced section may be in the form of a fabric tape attached to the respective sleeve. Said fabric tape preferably extends across the back of the body of the jacket to provide a continuous path of reinforcement between the restraint cords of the sleeves.

In a preferred embodiment the sleeves are detachable from the body of the jacket, preferably by means of zipper fasteners. This allows a tailored fit to be achieved by selecting and coupling together differently sized jacket bodies and sleeves to suit the wearer. An opening may be provided between the sleeves and the jacket body beneath the arms.

Where the flight jacket comprises an upper reinforced section in the form of a fabric tape attached to the respective sleeve, said fabric tape may comprise a first section attached to a first sleeve of the jacket and a second section attached to a second sleeve of the jacket, said first and second sections of the fabric tape extending over a back of the jacket body and being releasably coupled together at or adjacent a central portion of the back of the jacket. The first and second tape sections may be releasably attached to the back of the jacket body via hook and loop fasteners. Overlapping ends of the first and second tape sections may be releasably coupled together in a central region of the back of the jacket body by hook and loop fasteners. The overlapping ends of the first and second tape sections may be covered a flap, said flap preferably being releasably secured to at least one of the tape sections by further layers of hook and loop fasteners. This allows the sleeves of the jacket to be removed while providing a strong connection between the restraint cords of the two sleeves and a continuous load bearing path between therestraint cords of the sleeves. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A flight jacket in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

Figure 1 is an illustration of an occupant of an ejection seat wearing a flight jacket in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is an illustration of the operation of the arm restraint system of the flight jacket of Figure 1 during ejection of the seat;

Figure 3 is a detailed view of the back of the flight jacket of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a detailed view of a sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 with a first type of arm restraint system interface;

Figure 5 is a detailed view of a sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 with a second type of arm restraint system interface;

Figures 6 to 8 are detailed views of the wrist attachment of the restraint cord of one sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 ;

Figure 9 is a detailed view of the shoulder attachment of the restraint cord of one sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 ;

Figure 10 a detailed view of the upper part of a sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 with the first type of arm restraint system interface; and

Figure 11 a detailed view of the upper part of a sleeve of the flight jacket of Figure 1 with the second type of arm restraint system interface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A flight jacket 2 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention comprises a jacket body 4 and a pair of detachable jacket sleeves 6,8. The sleeves 6,8 may be detachably connected to the jacket body by suitable releasable fastening means, more preferably zipper fasteners 10. This allows the respective sizes of the sleeves (in particular sleeve length) and jacket body to be selected to provide a more tailored fit for specific wearers.

Each sleeve 6,8 incorporates a restraint cord 12 extending from the wrist to a position on the wearer's upper arm between the elbow and shoulder. An arm restraint tether interface member 14 is slidably mounted on each restraint cord 12 to be slidable along therealong between a first position adjacent the wearer's shoulder and a second position at or adjacent the wearer's wrist, as will be described in more detail below. Each restraint cord is made from a flexible high tensile and low stretch material, such as Vectran (RTM) or Kevlar (RTM).

Prior to ejection the restraint cord 12 on each sleeve is housed within a releasable enclosure 16, whereby the restraint cords 12 are protected and whereby each arm restraint tether interface member 14 is maintained in its first position during normal operation of an aircraft. Each restraint cord enclosure 16 is provided with a releasable fastener 18 extending along its length from between said first and second positions, permitting the enclosure to tear open when force is applied to the arm restraint tether interface member 14, enabling each arm restraint tether interface member 14 to easily slide along the respective restraint cord 12 between its first and second positions during seat ejection.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the releasable fastener 18 of the restraint cord enclosure 16 of each sleeve 6,8 comprises a specially modified zipper fastener comprising opposed rows of interlocking zipper closure elements, a slider (not shown) being provided for closing and opening the zipper fastener 18. The zipper closure elements of a burst section 30 of each zipper fastener 18, positioned to overly the respective restraint cord 12 at its respective first position, are devoid of interlocking formations, thereby allowing the arm restraint tether interface member 14 on the respective restraint cord 12 to pass through said burst section 30 of each zipper fastener 18 to be secured to a seat tether 20 and defining a region of weakness of the zipper fastener 18 whereby the zipper fastener 18 is easily separated starting from said burst out section 30 when a force is applied to the restraint tether interface member 14 during ejection to release the respective restraint cord 12 from its enclosure 16, facilitating deployment of the restraint cord 12 during an ejection.

As illustrated in Figure 6, each restraint cord 12 may be secured at one end to a lower reinforced wrist section 22 of the respective sleeve 6,8, in the form of loop of fabric wrist tape secured to the sleeve to extend around the wearer's wrist. The cord 12 may be attached to this wrist tape 22 using a larks-head knot. A cover 25 may be provided for protecting the end of the cord 12 where attached to the wrist tape 22. The length of each restraint cord 12 is preferably matched to the length of the particular sleeve 6,8 to which it is to be fitted and the unique anthropometry of the aircrew member who is being sized for the flight jacket.

As illustrated in Figure 9, a second or top end of each restraint cord 12 may be attached to an upper reinforced section of the respective sleeve, preferably in the form of a section of strong fabric tape 24 stitched to upper portion of the respective sleeve. Each restraint cord 12 may be attached to the respective tape 24 by means of a high strength steel link 26 provided on an end the respective tape 24. The link 26 may be protected by a suitable cover. Such cover may comprise part of the restraint cord enclosure 16.

Preferably the upper reinforced sections of the sleeves, in the form of sections of strong fabric tape 24 affixed to the respective sleeve, are interconnected to one another and extend across the back of the body 4 of the jacket 2 to provide a continuous load bearing path of reinforcement between the upper ends of the restraint cords 12 of the sleeves 6,8. As illustrated in Figure 3, to allow the sleeves 6,8 to be removed, the tapes 24 are attached to the back of the jacket body 4 via releasable fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners, preferably with additional layers of hook and loop fasteners securing overlapping ends of the tapes 24 together in a central region of the back of the jacket body. The overlapping ends of the tapes may be covered by and secured to a flap 26, said flap being secured to the overlapping ends of the tapes 24 by further layers of hook and loop fasteners. This provides a strong connection between the overlapping ends of the tapes 24 without substantial thickness, avoiding discomfort for the wearer when sat in the ejection seat.

The releasable enclosures 16 provide protection of the restraint cords 12 from ultraviolet radiation, general wear and tear and snagging. No hook and loop fastener are used within the location and deployment of each restraint cord 12, thereby removing the well-known and documented problem associated with separation of such fasteners when used dynamically with arm restraint systems.

Servicing and replacement of each restraint cord 12 is managed by opening the respective zipper fasteners 18 of the restraint cord enclosures 16 by means of the sliders and removing the restraint cord from each of the two attachments at either end of the respective sleeve 6,8.

During the ejection, forces from the arm restraint tethers 20 of the associated seat mounted arm restraint system are applied to the restraint cords 12 located in the protective releasable enclosures 16, thereby rupturing the zipper fastener 18 of each enclosure 16 starting from the respective burst section 30, allowing the respective mechanical seat interface member 14 to travel down restraint cord 12, thereby applying the correct degree of restraint to the arms of the aircrew member.

During the individual sizing of the detachable sleeves 6,8 and the restraint cords 12 to the aircrew member, consideration is given to ensuring the highest degree of restraint is provided by the system whilst allowing for the aircrew to be able to reach and operate any seat mounted override system whilst restrained.

The method of attachment and stowage of each restraint cord 12 allows for the arm restraint system to easily be adapted to any currently in-service seat mounted arm restraint system. The interface members 14 to the restraint tethers 20 of the ejection seat system are installed prior to engaging the upper end of each restraint cord 12 to the upper link on each sleeve 6,8. As shown in Figures 4 and 10, in one version each interface member 14 may be in the form of a special steel lug that is inserted into the mating ejection seat mounted part located on the tether 20.

In an alternative version, as shown in Figures 5 and 11, each interface member 14 may be in the form of an 8 mm diameter steel ring. This adaptability allows for the seat interface to be installed after manufacture of the flight jacket and changed dependant on the ejection seat type and the unique anthropometry of the wearer.

The interface member 14 of each sleeve 6,8 may be covered by a respective flap 15 to protect the interface member 14 when not in use.

Referring to Figure 1 there is illustrated an aircrew member in an ejection seat prior to ejection. The occupant is secured to the seat by various belts and harnesses, as is commonplace in the art. It is the function of such harnesses to keep the occupant in the seat during flight manoeuvres. During strapping into the ejection seat, the aircrew member also attaches the seat mounted restraint tethers 20 to the tether interface members 14 on the restraint cords 12 of the sleeves 6,8 of the flight jacket 2.

In use, referring to Figure 2, the aircrew member pulls the firing handle located in the centre of the ejection seat, activating the ejection sequence. During this sequence the seat starts to ascend and the ejection catapult simultaneously applies tension to the seat mounted arm restraint tethers 20 which are typically secured to the aircraft floor by frangible connections adapted to break when a predetermined force is exceeded, thereby applying a force to the interface member 14 on each restraint cord 12 via the tethers 20 as the seat ascends. This force deploys the arm restraint cords 12 from their enclosures 16 by rupturing the zipper fasteners 18 starting from the burst sections 30 such that the interface members 14 are free to slide down the restraint cords 12 towards their second positions adjacent the occupant's wrists, thereby restraining the occupant's arms.

Due to the ability of the sleeves 6,8 to be detached from the jacket body 4, precise sizing of the sleeves 6,8 to the wearer's anthropometry and the ejection seat interface can be achieved, thereby providing the highest degree of restraint to the aircrew members arms whilst still allowing reach and operation to any necessary seat mounted back-up release mechanisms. This invention allows for a modular approach to the interface for the seat mounted arm restraint system. This can allow for a common configuration of flight jacket to be used on any ejection seat currently in service, with the restraint system for the arms changing to suit the appropriate interface. Compatibility for all system types is achieved by having the sleeves 6,8 of the flight jacket detachable from the body 4 of the flight jacket via a zipper fastener 10 and hook and loop arrangement. Strength and structural integrity are maintained using a novel approach to the incorporation of the sleeve.

The detachable sleeve system allows for a greater number of size variations to be available; without increasing the logistic footprint of the basic flight jacket. This also has the benefit of providing a more precise fitment of the sleeve to the aircrew thereby improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the restraint when employed.

The invention is not limited to the embodiment described herein but can be amended or modified without departing from the scope of the present invention.