PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0933292 30.12.2004
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0000933292
Titel Fesselballon
Anmelder DENTSU TEC INC., Tokio/Tokyo, JP;
Vip Corp. Co., Ltd., Koriyama, Fukushima, JP
Erfinder Miyake, Kunihide, Koriyama-shi, Fukushima, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69922063
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB, IT
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 21.01.1999
EP-Aktenzeichen 991011446
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 04.08.1999
EP date of grant 24.11.2004
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 30.12.2004
IPC-Hauptklasse B64B 1/50
IPC-Nebenklasse G09F 21/06   

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to tethered balloons used for aerial film or video recording, advertisements, shows and other activities done in the air and more particularly to tethered balloons used at relatively low altitudes (between 30 and 150 m).

Telecasting of ball games, film or video recording, advertisements, shows and other activities are often carried out at a fixed point in the air. These activities are carried out by using helicopters, airships and tethered balloons that can remain floating in the air. However, helicopters cannot remain floating at any given point in the air for a prolonged period of time. Besides, they produce large noises and vibrations. Airships and tethered balloons cannot be used when strong winds are blowing (at a speed of, for example, 7 meters per second or above) because they roll and pitch considerably. Tethered balloons usually employ a connecting net so that the tethering load acting on the balloon proper (or the floating power of the balloon) does not concentrate at the joint where the balloon proper and tether are connected together. The connecting net is a cone formed by multiple connecting ropes that are attached to the balloon proper at the bottom of the cone. The stationary satellite balloon contrived by the inventor is an example of the tethered balloons of the type just described (see Japanese Provisional Patent Publication No. 198188 of 1996).

Conventional tethered balloons have a connecting net that extends vertically down. In the presence of strong winds, therefore, they sway back and forth (in the direction of wind), lose their stability and sometimes crash against the ground. The connecting net extending vertically down gets into the field of vision of the camera used for bird's-eye view film or video recording, too.

GB 133348 discloses a balloon having a stabilizing bag or rudder bags, and cords are connected to the envelope by means of catenaries attached to the outside of the balloon. A car and a tether are attached to the meeting point of the cords.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved tethered balloon.

This object is achieved by the subject-matter as recited in the claims.

An advantage of this invention is to provide a tethered balloon that can remain stable even in the presence of strong winds. Another advantage of this invention is to provide a tethered balloon that permits bird's-eye view film or video recording from a high point in the air without being hindered by the connecting net.

A tethered balloon according to this invention comprises a spherical balloon proper inflated with a gas whose specific gravity is lower than that of the outside air, a gondola attached to the bottom of the balloon proper, a vertical stabilizer attached to the balloon proper, a connector attached to the balloon proper, the connector being positioned opposite to the vertical stabilizer with the gondola in between and a straight line connecting the center of the balloon proper and the connector being inclined with respect to the central axis of the balloon that connects the center of the balloon proper and the center of gravity of the whole balloon, a tether connected to the connector, and a tether holder having a drum to take up and pay off the tether and placed on the ground.

When wind blows, the tethered balloon of this invention thus constructed is positioned so that the vertical stabilizer lies parallel to the direction of wind. Because only a small force acts on the balloon perpendicular to the direction of wind (i.e. transversely), the balloon remains stable transversely. The balloon also sways little in the direction of wind (i.e. back and forth) because the straight line connecting the center of the balloon proper and the connector is inclined with respect to the central axis of the balloon that connects the center of the balloon proper and the center of gravity of the whole balloon. When taking an omnidirectional (covering 360 degrees) bird's-eye view photograph, the tether comes into the field of vision, but the connector remains outside.

Preferably the connector is a connecting net made of multiple connecting ropes that are attached to the periphery of a circle on the surface of the balloon proper at one end and gathered together at the other end to form a conical shape. The connecting net is placed opposite to the vertical stabilizer with the gondola in between. A straight line connecting the center of the balloon proper and the apex of the conically shaped connecting net is inclined with respect to the central axis of the balloon that connects the center of the balloon proper and the center of gravity of the whole balloon. The tether is connected to the apex of the connecting net.

Preferably the connector comprises a ring plate attached to the surface of the balloon proper and a metal connector to which the tether is connected. Provision may be made so that an air bag is placed in a spherical frame formed by horizontal and vertical belts and the ring plate is attached to the balloon proper by the vertical belts.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention are exemplified by the figures.

Fig. 1 is a side elevation of a tethered balloon according to this invention.

Fig. 2 is a front view of the balloon shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 3 schematically shows the balloon floating in the air.

Fig. 4 schematically shows another embodiment of this invention comprising a tethered balloon and a tether holder.

Fig. 5 is a bottom view showing details of a portion of the tethered balloon shown in Fig. 4 where the balloon proper and tether are connected.

Fig. 6 is a side elevation of the portion shown in Fig. 5.

Figs. 1 and 2 show a tethered balloon according to this invention. A balloon 11 essentially comprises a balloon proper 12, a gondola 21, a vertical stabilizer 31, a tether 41 and a tether holder 51.

The balloon proper 12 has a frame 14 made of multiple vertical and horizontal belts 15 and 16 that run along the meridional and latitudinal lines. The belts 15 and 16 are made of polyester. The frame 14 contains a double-walled air bag 17, with an inner and an outer wall being made of vinyl chloride and parachute fabric. The frame 14 and air bag 17 are collapsible and become spherical when they are inflated with a gas whose specific gravity is lower than that of the outside air, such as helium, hydrogen and warm air, and pressurized. The diameter of the balloon proper 12 is between approximately 3 and 30 m, depending on the use and buoyancy of the balloon, the weight of equipment mounted on the gondola 21, and other factors.

The gondola 21 is firmly attached to the bottom of the balloon proper 12 by means of multiple ropes (not shown). The gondola 21 has a clamping leg 22 to fasten a camera or other equipment in position. The weight of the gondola 21 and the equipment mounted thereon must be determined by considering the weight and buoyancy of the balloon proper 12. The overall weight of the balloon 11 (the sum of the weights of the balloon proper, gondola, mounted equipment, vertical stabilizer, tether, etc.) is commensurate with the buoyancy of the balloon proper 12. If the overall weight is too heavy, the real buoyancy (= buoyancy - overall weight) becomes so small that the balloon 11 becomes unstable and the speed and time of ascent thereof become slower and longer. The appropriate overall weight of the balloon 11 is approximately 60 to 80 percent of the buoyancy thereof.

The vertical stabilizer 31 is disk-shaped. The vertical stabilizer 31 is attached to the balloon proper 12 by means of a horizontal arm 33 extending backward from the rear end of the gondola 21 and a tilt arm 34 projecting from the balloon proper 12. A round hole provided at the center of the vertical stabilizer 31 is fitted with a propeller 38. In windless conditions, the propeller 38 is rotated by an electric motor (not shown). Although the balloon 11 has a tendency to slowly rotate in the counterclockwise direction about a vertical axis (the central axis of the balloon LCG), the propeller 38 prevents this rotation.

The tether 41 is connected to the balloon proper 12 via a connecting assembly 42. The connecting assembly 42 comprises a connecting net 43 made of multiple connecting ropes 44 that are attached to the periphery of a circle on the surface of the balloon proper 12 at one end and gathered together at the other end to form a conical shape. The cone has a bottom whose diameter is equal to approximately 20 to 60 percent of the diameter of the balloon proper 12 and a height that is equal to approximately 10 to 30 percent of the diameter of the balloon proper 12. The connecting ropes 44 are approximately 10 to 40 in number. The tether 41 is connected to the lower end of the connecting net 43 via a rotary joint 47. The connecting net 43 is placed opposite to the vertical stabilizer 31 with the gondola 21 in between. A straight line LCA connecting the center of the balloon proper 12 and the apex A of the connecting net 43 is inclined with respect to the central axis LCG of the balloon connecting the center C of the balloon proper 12 and the center of gravity G of the whole balloon. The angle of inclination &thetas; is approximately 30 to 60 degrees. It is preferable to place the center of gravity G of the whole balloon, the vertical stabilizer 31 and the apex A of the connecting net 43 in the same plane. The tether 41 and connecting net 43 are made of Kevlar fiber (the trade name of an aramid fiber).

The tether holder 51 has an electrically powered winch 52 mounted on a vehicle 55, as shown in Fig. 3. The electrically powered winch 52 has a drum 53 that takes up and pays off the tether 41.

The tether 41 carries a power cable, a communication cable and some other cables that connect the equipment on the balloon to the power supply, control unit and other devices (not shown) on the ground, as will be described later by reference to Fig. 4.

After a television camera 25, illuminating devices, advertising streamer and the like have been attached to the gondola 21, depending on the use of the balloon, the balloon 11 is allowed to rise and float in the air. In Japan, for example, the maximum height of the balloon 11 floating in the air is limited to 150 m by the Aviation Law. When wind blows, the position of the balloon 11 becomes such that the vertical stabilizer 31 lies parallel to the direction of wind. As such, the balloon 11 remains stable transversely. When the center of gravity G of the whole balloon, the vertical stabilizer 31 and the apex A of the connecting net 43 are in the same plane, the balloon becomes more stable transversely. The balloon does not sway much back and forth because the straight line LCA connecting the center of the balloon proper and the apex of the connecting net is inclined with respect to the central axis LCG connecting the center of the balloon proper and the center of gravity of the whole balloon. The angle of inclination α of the tether 41 with respect to the surface of the ground varies with wind speed. The angle of inclination α of a balloon with a diameter of 3.5 m, for example, becomes 45 degrees when wind speed is 15 meters per second. Even then, the balloon does not sway much back and forth. When the tether 41 is inclined, an omnidirectional (covering 360 degrees) bird's-eye view picture can be taken, because the tether 41 and the connecting net 43 are entirely outside the field of vision of the camera 25. When there is no wind, the tether 41 hangs down vertically. Still, the tether 41 and the connecting net 43 are away from the central axis LCG of the balloon proper 12. Therefore, the tether comes into the field of vision of the camera when an omnidirectional bird's-eye view photograph is taken. Even so, the connecting net 43 remains outside the field of vision.

Figs. 4 to 6 show another embodiment of this invention, in which the devices similar to those shown in Figs. 1 to 3 are designated by similar reference characters, with detailed description thereof omitted.

A connecting assembly 60 is placed opposite to the vertical stabilizer 31 with the gondola 21 in between, as shown in Fig. 4. A straight line LCA connecting the center of the balloon proper 12 and the center N of the connecting assembly is inclined with respect to the central axis LCG of the balloon connecting the center C of the balloon proper 12 and the center of gravity G of the whole balloon. The angle of inclination &thetas; is approximately 30 to 60 degrees. It is preferable to place the center of gravity G of the whole balloon, the vertical stabilizer 31 and the center N of the connecting assembly in the same plane.

The connecting assembly 60 has top and bottom ring plates 62 and 63 of equal diameter, as shown in Figs. 5 and 6. One end of each of the vertical belts 15 forming the frame 14 is inserted between the top and bottom ring plates 62 and 63 and folded back toward the top ring plate 62 (or toward the side of the balloon proper). The top and bottom ring plates 62 and 63, with the vertical belts 15 inserted therebetween, are fastened together by bolts 65. The folded back portions of the vertical belts 15 are stitched together. A holding plate 67 is placed under the bottom ring plate 63. One end of a holding belt 70 is folded back over the bottom ring plate 63 and the other end thereof is passed through a slit 68 in the holding plate 67 and folded back. The folded back portion of the holding belt 70 is stitched together. The holding plate 67 is attached to the bottom ring plate 63 via four holding belts 70. A bracing plate 72 is placed directly below the holding plate 67. The bracing plate 72 has many holes 73 that hold self-locking hooks 75 to which one end of bracing wires 77 is attached. The other end of the bracing wires 77 is fastened to each of the vertical belts forming the frame 14. An eyebolt 79 is passed through center holes (not shown) provided in the holding and bracing plates 67 and 72. The eyebolt 79 has a head 80 that prevents slip-off from the holding and bracing plates 67 and 72. The eyebolt 79 is fastened to the holding and bracing plates 67 and 72 by a nut 81. A clevis 84 is attached to a bolt 83 that is passed through a hole in the eyebolt 79, and an end of the tether 41 is tied to the clevis 84.

The holding and bracing plates 67 and 72 may be omitted from the connecting assembly 60. Then, the clevis 84 may be attached to a bracket fastened to the bottom ring plate 63.

A tether crane 86 is mounted on a light truck 55, as shown in Fig. 4. A balloon holding ring 89 is provided at an upper end of the jib 87 of the tether crane 86. The jib 87 of the tether crane 86 rotates about the base end thereof. The tether 41 is wound around a take-up drum 53 of a hydraulic winch 52 via the tether crane 86. When lowering the balloon 11 onto the ground, the hydraulic winch 52 is actuated to take up the tether 41. Then, the balloon 11 is pulled and fastened to a balloon holding ring 89. The balloon 11 thus fastened to the balloon holding ring 89 remains motionless and stable.

Though shown separately for the sake of simplicity, a helium supply tube 91, a power supply cable 95 and a communication cable 98 run upward along the tether 41 from the ground to the connecting assembly 60 of the balloon proper 12. The helium supply tube 91, which is connected to a helium cylinder 92 via a pressure regulating valve 93, automatically makes up for the loss of helium from the balloon proper 12. A power supply 96 supplies electricity through the cable 95 to a drive unit to rotate and actuate the television camera 25 attached to the gondola 21 and a motor to drive the propeller 38. A control unit 99 sends control signals to the television camera 25 through the communication cable 98 to control the motions of the camera, such as zooming and rotation of the camera proper for omnidirectional bird's-eye view photographing, from the ground. The television camera 25 sends image signals through the communication cable 98 to a television monitor 100 or a signal transmitter or a video recorder.

Example

A tethered balloon of the type shown in Figs. 1 and 2 was made according to the following specifications: Diameter of the balloon proper 8.8 m Inflating gas Helium Inflating pressure 40 mmAq Buoyancy 3,530 N Overall weight of the balloon 1,177 N (including 392 N of tether etc.) Payload 1,373 N Real buoyancy 981 N

The hydraulic winch of the tether holder was moved by a light truck. An omnidirectional photograph of topography was taken from a point 150 m above the ground level using a television camera attached to the gondola of the tethered balloon. The wind speed was 15 meters per second and the angle of inclination α of the tether with respect to the surface of the ground was approximately 60 degrees. The balloon swayed little both back and forth and transversely. The tether did not come into the field of vision of the television camera.

Even when wind speed exceeds 7 meters per second, the tethered balloons according to this invention remain stable and relatively motionless. Therefore, aerial bird's-eye view photographing, advertisements and shows are now possible even in the presence of winds. Omnidirectional picture can be taken without being hindered by the tether and connecting net, as well.

The balloon according to this invention can be flown on the lake or sea by using the tether holder mounted on a vessel, or by running a vehicle or a vessel.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Fesselballon (11), der aufweist: einen kugelförmigen eigentlichen Ballon (12), der mit einem Gas gefüllt ist, dessen spezifisches Gewicht geringer als das der Außenluft ist, eine am unteren Teil des eigentlichen Ballons (12) angebrachte Gondel (21), einen am eigentlichen Ballon (12) angebrachten vertikalen Stabilisator (31), Verbindungseinrichtung (42,60), die an dem eigentlichen Ballon (12) angebracht sind und ein Halteseil (41) anbinden, einen am Boden befindlichen Halteseilhalter (51) mit einer Trommel (53) zum Aufspulen und Abspulen des Halteseils,

       dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß

       die Verbindungseinrichtung (42,60) ein Verbindungsnetz (43) aus mehreren Verbindungsseilen (44) aufweist, die an einem Ende an dem Rand eines Kreises auf der Oberfläche des eigentlichen Ballons (12) angebracht sind und am Ende zu einem Punkt zusammengefaßt sind und zu einem Kreiskegel geformt sind,

       das Halteseil (41) mit dem Apex (A) des Verbindungsnetzes (43) verbunden ist,

       eine gerade Linie (LCA), die den Mittelpunkt (C) des eigentlichen Ballons (12) und den Apex (A) des Verbindungsnetzes (43) verbindet, bezüglich der Mittelachse (LCG) des Ballons geneigt ist, die den Mittelpunkt (C) des eigentlichen Ballons (12) und das Schwerkraftzentrum (G) des gesamten Ballons verbindet, und das Schwerkraftzentrum (G) des gesamten Ballons, der vertikale Stabilisator und der Apex (A) des Verbindungsnetzes (43) in der gleichen Ebene liegen, und

       das Verbindungsnetz (43) symmetrisch zu dem vertikalen Stabilisator (31) bezüglich der Mittelachse (LCG) des Ballons angeordnet ist, mit der Gondel zwischen dem Verbindungsnetz (43) und dem vertikalen Stabilisator (31).
  2. Fesselballon nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Verbindungseinrichtung (60) Ringplatten (62,63), die an der Oberfläche des eigentlichen Ballons (12) angebracht sind, und einen Metallverbinder (84) aufweist, mit welchem das Halteseil (41) verbunden ist.
  3. Fesselballon nach Anspruch 2, wobei ein Luftsack (17) in einem kugelförmigen Rahmen (14) angeordnet ist, der aus vertikalen und horizontalen Gurten (15,16) gebildet ist, die sich entlang der Meridian- und Breitenlinien des eigentlichen Ballons (12) erstrecken, und wobei die Ringplatten (62,63) durch die vertikalen Gurte (15) an dem eigentlichen Ballon (12) angebracht sind.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A tethered balloon (11) comprises a spherical balloon proper (12) inflated with a gas whose specific gravity is lower than that of the outside air, a gondola (21) fastened to the bottom of the balloon proper (12), a vertical stabilizer (31) attached to the balloon proper (12), connecting means (42, 60) attached to the balloon proper (12) and connecting a tether (41), a tether holder (51) having a drum (53) to take up and pay off the tether (41) and placed on the ground, characterized in that said connecting means (42, 60) comprises a connecting net (43) made by multiple connecting ropes (44) that are attached to the periphery of a circle on the surface of said balloon proper (12) at one end and gathered to one point and formed into a circular cone at the end said tether (41) is connected to the apex (A) of said connecting net (43), a straight line (LCA) connecting the center (C) of said balloon proper (12) and the apex (A) of said connecting net (43) is inclined with respect to the center axis (LCG) of the balloon connecting the center (C) of said balloon proper (12) and the center of gravity (G) of the whole balloon, and the center of gravity (G) of the whole balloon, said vertical stabilizer, and the apex (A) of said connecting net (43)are on the same plane and said connecting net (43) is placed symmetrical to said vertical stabilizer (31) with respect to said center axis (LCA) of the balloon with the gondola (21) in between the connecting net (43) and said vertical stabilizer (31).
  2. A tethered balloon according to claim 1, in which said connecting means (60) comprises ring plates (62, 63) attached to the surface of the balloon proper (12) and a metal connector (84) to which the tether (41) is connected.
  3. A tethered balloon according to claim 2, in which: an air bag (17) is placed in a spherical frame (14) formed by vertical and horizontal belts (15, 16) running along the meridional and latitudinal lines on said balloon proper (12) and said ring plates (62, 63) are attached to the balloon proper (12) by the vertical belts (15).
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Ballon captif (11) comprenant un ballon sphérique (12) proprement dit gonflé avec un gaz dont la gravité spécifique est inférieure à celle de l'air extérieur, une nacelle (21) attachée au fond du ballon lui-même (12), un stabilisateur vertical (31) fixé au ballon lui-même (12), des moyens de raccordement (42, 60) fixés au ballon lui-même (12) et reliant une laisse (41), un support de laisse (51) ayant un tambour (53) pour recevoir et dérouler la laisse (41) et placé sur le sol, caractérisé en ce que lesdits moyens de raccordement (42, 60) comprennent un réseau de raccordement (43) constitué de multiples cordes (44) qui sont fixées sur la périphérie d'un cercle sur la surface dudit ballon lui-même (12) à une extrémité et réunies à un point et formant un cône circulaire à l'autre extrémité, ladite laisse (41) est reliée au sommet (A) dudit réseau de raccordement (43), une ligne droite (LCA) reliant le centre (C) dudit ballon lui-même (12) et le sommet (A) dudit réseau de raccordement (43) est inclinée par rapport à l'axe central (LCG) du ballon reliant le centre (C) dudit ballon lui-même (12) et le centre de gravité (G) de l'ensemble du ballon, et le centre de gravité (G) de l'ensemble du ballon, ledit stabilisateur vertical et le sommet (A) dudit réseau de raccordement (43) sont dans un même plan et ledit réseau de raccordement (43) est installé symétriquement audit stabilisateur vertical (31) par rapport audit axe central (LCG) du ballon, avec la nacelle (21) entre le réseau de raccordement (43) et ledit stabilisateur vertical (31).
  2. Ballon captif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdits moyens de raccordement (60) comprennent des plaques circulaires (62, 63) fixées sur la surface du ballon lui-même (12) et un raccord métallique (84) auquel la laisse (41) est reliée.
  3. Ballon captif selon la revendication 2, dans lequel un sac gonflable (17) est installé dans une structure sphérique (14) formée par des courroies verticales et horizontales (15, 16) s'étendant le long des lignes méridionales et latitudinales sur ledit ballon lui-même (12), et lesdites plaques circulaires (62, 63) sont fixées sur le ballon lui-même (12) par les courroies verticales (15).






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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