US2758804A - Method of folding and launching balloons - Google Patents

Method of folding and launching balloons Download PDF

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US2758804A
US2758804A US449529A US44952954A US2758804A US 2758804 A US2758804 A US 2758804A US 449529 A US449529 A US 449529A US 44952954 A US44952954 A US 44952954A US 2758804 A US2758804 A US 2758804A
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gores
balloon
folded
launching
gore
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Raymond I Hakomaki
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Raymond I Hakomaki
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64BLIGHTER-THAN AIR AIRCRAFT
    • B64B1/00Lighter-than-air aircraft
    • B64B1/40Balloons

Description

Aug. l4, 1956 R. HAKOMAKI METHOD OF FOLDING AND LAUNCHING BALLOONS Filed Aug. 12, 1954 INVENTOR: RAYMOND HAKOMAK/ ATT'YS United States Patent METHOD OF FOLDING AND LAUNCHING BALLOONS Raymond I. Hakomaki, St. Paul, Minn., assignor, by mesne assignments, to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Application August '12, 1954, Serial No. 449,529

9 Claims. (Cl. 244-31) This invention relates to balloons and more particularly to the folding of a balloon with wide gores and to the method of packaging such a balloon and preparing it for launching.

In the ordinary plastic stratosphere balloons, the gores are relatively narrow and usually have a random distribution around the balloon together with the load tapes when these parts are loosely gathered together for folding and packaging, and are confined at an anchor point intermediate the length of balloon when it is laid out for launching.

As these balloons are made of thin plastic materials, the random folding, bunching, and feeding of the gores and the attached tapes may be quite detrimental. It is particularly important in balloons having wide gores that the gores are folded smoothly in packaging the balloons in the first place, so that they may be unrolled in smooth form in preparation for launching, and also may be discharged in a regular orderly manner. This prevents the gores from being crumpled or improperly creased during the folding and handling operations and tends to reduce damage to the balloon.

With wider gores the danger of damage in folding and feeding the balloon for launching is increased, as the portion being inflated tends to pull the adjacent folded portion through the launching device and thereby to damage the thin material unless it is fed smoothly.

It is therefore an important object of this invention to fold the wider balloon gores longitudinally so they will overlap and present a uniform thickness below the restraining arms of the launching device.

A further object is to fold the gores in packaging so that the load tapes are at the outer edges of the gores and preferably bent or folded longitudinally to offer the most protection to the gores and to simplify the location and disposition of the tapes at the outside.

A still further object of the invention is to fold the gores flatly together in groups with the bent tapes at the outside on opposite sides of a diametric centerline of the balloon.

Still a further object of the invention is to divide the gores into opposite substantially equal thicknesses at opposite sides of the balloon centerlin-e, and to connect the top and bottom gores on the opposite sides with loose or accordion-folded portions which may be pulled out at the center for the insertion and removal of an inflation tube free from the launching device.

Other objects of the invention will appear in the specification and will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings, in which Fig. l is a side elevation showing one method of inflating a balloon in accordance with this invention;

Fig. 2 is a perspective view showing portions of a balloon in accordance with this invention at the launching platform with the outer portions partly inflated and the balloon folded under the launching arms; and

Fig. 3 is an enlarged perspective View showing a partial section of the balloon and the folding of the gores for 2 packaging the balloon and for preparing it for a launching operation.

In packaging and .launching a balloon with a wide gore construction, the gores are too wide to extend smoothly under the arms of an ordinary launching device; and in the present invention, groups of the gores are folded smoothly upon themselves with an equal number of gores on each side of a diametric centerline of a balloon, disposing load-bearing tapes at the outer edges of the balloon body. This avoids a random distribution of gores and tapes under the mounting arms as in the ordinary plastic stratosphere balloons and provides a loose cover which may be pulled out between the arms of the launching device for inserting and removing an inflation tube.

Referring now more particularly to the drawings, this invention is applied to a thin plastic stratosphere balloon usually made of thermoplastic material and comprises a number of wide gores 10, similar in shape and adapted to be sealed together at their adjacent edges by a suitable heat-sealing means and having a load-bearing tape 12 forming a reinforcing strip overlying each of the edges at the joint, attached to the edges throughout their length by a layer of adhesive and the tapes extending below the balloon as load-bearing lines 13 where they are connected to a load '14.

Instead of allowing the gores to fold together in any random fashion, groups of the gores are selected, usually of about the same number, and these groups equally divide the gores on each side of a longitudinal centerline of a balloon so that the same number of gores may be located on each side thereof.

Each group of gores, as A and B in Fig. 3, is folded upon itself longitudinally in separate layers as a and a", and corresponding layers b and b" are folded upwardly from the lower group B, the folded layers being disposed internally of the tapes 12 at the edges. These tapes which connect adjacent gores are folded longitudinally at their centers, and the outer bent edges of the tapes are disposed outwardly at the outer edges of the groups so that when the folds are compressed, the longitudinal gore folds of each group are substantially of the same thickness as the folded tapes 12 at the edges thereof. In a sample. balloon there might be sixteen gores on each side of the centerline of the balloon which may be divided into two separate fo-ldable groups of eight in each group, and these groups are folded separately together at opposite sides of the centerline with an upper gore 15 connected loosely between the folded sections on opposite sides of the centerline and a lower gore 18 connecting the lower groups at opposite sides of the centerline. Each of these gores 15 and 18 is preferably formed with loose or accordion-like folds 20 so that the upper gore 15 may be drawn upwardly from between the folded groups to receive an inflation tube .22 which may be thus inserted loosely into and removed from a balloon without undue friction or binding in either direction of movement and without disturbing the folded gores.

These oppositely folded groups of the balloon gores may be rolled upwardly in a ball from the outer end for packaging the balloon, in a well-known manner, and

. when it is desired to prepare the balloon for launching, it

outer end of the balloon is inflated and tends to draw the other portions of the balloon upwardly through the mounting device.

Folding the balloon film in this manner provides equal thickness of balloon material under each arm of the launching device. The tapes at the outer edges of the folded balloon body are near the pivots of the launching device arms. In this position, the arms are the most effective in resisting side movements when the balloon is subjected during launching to lateral wind forces, and the forces on the launching arms will have the shortest lever arm for transferring moments to the launching device linkages.

In laying out the balloon on the launching platform, considerable care should be exercised to prevent damage during the inflation. The platform of the launching de vice should be free of sand, grit, or other objects, and some cover, such as the protecting strip 24, should be placed to keep the balloon from direct contact with the surface of the launching device and with the surface of the ground or the platform upon which the remainder of the folded balloon is supported. Great cleanliness is important because some balloon creep usually occurs, especially with heavy inflations, which may abrade the balloon film if the surface of the balloon launching device is dirty.

in launching a balloon which is usually rolled up for storage and transportation, the balloon is rolled out upon the ground cloth and through the platform arms, exposing the proper bubble length for the amount of inflation which is planned. As viewed from above, the balloon appears to be in two parts, that is, at the centerline of the balloon are two folds with the film extending laterally outward to the load-bearing tapes. Between and below the two folds just at the centerline, a single thickness of material can be seen, and beneath this is the inflation tube which is usually colored red so that it may be clearly seen through the plastic wall of the balloon. Spreading the fold slightly apart from the center, the inflation tube may be grasped and lifted gently to pull it and the intermediate part of the gore raising them about fifteen inches above the body of the balloon. This is done to place the inflation tube outside of the launching platform arms for the inflation. The creased edges of the gore layers within the balloon should be adjusted approximately two inches out from the centerline. Likewise, the outer edges of the tape 12 should be adjusted about two or three inches from the pivot ends of the launching device arms.

A slight tension should be applied to the inflation tube, and the accompanying portion of the upper balloon gore 15 which appears above the mating portion of the launching arms 28 to allow for tension that should be applied to the load-bearing lines 13 and to allow some looseness so that the launching arms may be lowered and locked in the downward or launching position.

It is most important to provide fullness in the single layers of film provided by the accordion-like folds in the gores 15 and 18 as the balloon is being filled, since the forces produced by the inflation of the balloon tending to pull the film away from the centerline keep increasing as the inflation progresses. Any movement of the inflation bubble tends to work the balloon film outwardly so it is necessary to provide enough fullness to accommodate this tendency, and the fullness must be provided in both top and bottom sheets.

When the launching arms 28 have been placed in launching position, tension should be applied to the load lines 13 until the balloon just starts to move through the launching arms. This tension should be maintained and gradually increased as the lift in the bubble increases. Close watch should be kept of the balloon at the rear of the launching device where it stretches around the launching arms. If creeping is observed, the tension on the load lines should be increased. When launching under variable wind conditions, special care must be observed since the lateral movements of the inflation bubble increase the tendency of the balloon to creep, that is, move both upwardly and outwardly toward the launching arm pivots. Material stretching may occur which tends to disrupt the balloon if insufficient slack has been provided in the two center gores.

With this construction and method of folding, a balloon with Wide gores may be folded so that it may be launched by a launching device with launching arms of ordinary length. In folding the balloon for storage after the gores are folded longitudinally, the balloon may be rolled upwardly from its outer end upon the folded gores thus making a compact package which is readily placed in position for unrolling and in engagement with the launching device as described above.

While a preferred embodiment has been described in some detail, it should be regarded as an example or embodiments of the invention and not as a restriction or limitation therein as many changes may be made in the construction and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. The method of packaging thermoplastic gored balloons having their edges heat sealed together with tapes adhesively secured thereto and overlapping the joints, which comprises folding the gores longitudinally upon each other in groups at opposite sides of a diametric centerline of the balloon, bending the tapes longitudinally at the outer edges of the gores to strengthen and support the gores, and folding a group of the gores at each side of the centerline together longitudinally to reduce the width of the gores and to provide a substantially equal thickness of balloon material at each side.

2. The method of packaging thermoplastic gored balloons having their edges heat sealed together with tapes adhesively secured thereto and overlapping the joints, which comprises folding the gores longitudinally with the tapes at the outer edges and the tapes bent longitudinally, separating the folded gores into separate groups at opposite sides of the balloon diameter, folding the groups of gores longitudinally so that the inner folded portions are of substantially equal thickness as at the tapes, and connecting the upper and lower portions of the center separated gores with accordian-like folds to afford a loose top portion which may be pulled up at the center between the folded gores for the insertion and removal of an inflation tube.

3. The method of flatly packaging thermoplastic balloons having Wide gores with their edges heat sealed together and tapes adhesively secured thereto overlapping the joints, which comprises laying out the uninflated balloon with its lower portion extended and the gores folded longitudinally with the tapes also folded longitudinally at the outer edges of the folds, folding groups of gores on each side of the balloon center upon themselves inwardly of the outer edges to make the balloon material of substantially equal thickness at each side, and connecting the upper and lower folded gores of the two groups with a single gore at top and bottom having accordion-like folds to take up the space between the said folded groups.

4. The method of packaging and launching flatly packaged balloons in accordance with claim 3 in which the upper balloon portion is filled with a predetermined amount of gas, holding the lower folded end from the outer sides at the bottom of the inflated portion, advancing the lower folded end as the upper end of the balloon becomes more inflated, loosening the folds of the lower portion as it passes beyond the holding position, and unfolding the folded gores from the top and bottom progressively of both groups of gores as the balloon lower end is advanced for launching.

5. A folded balloon comprising a plurality of gores of heat-scalable thermoplastic material, each gore being marginally sealed to the adjacent two gores, reinforcing strips adhesively secured to and overlying the full length of the several gore junctures at the outside of the balloon, each strip and the two gores associated therewith being folded flat at the juncture, with the strip at the outside of the fold.

6. A folded balloon comprising a plurality of gores of heat-sealable thermoplastic material, each gore being marginally sealed to the adjacent two gores, reinforcing strips adhesively secured to and overlying the full length of the several gore junctures at the outside of the balloon, each strip and the two gores associated therewith being folded flat at the juncture, with the strip at the outside of the fold, the number of gores being even, and the strips being stacked together in two equal groups at opposite sides of a plane containing the axis of the balloon.

7. A folded balloon comprising a plurality of gores of heat-sealab'le thermoplastic material, each gore being marginally sealed to the adjacent two gores, reinforcing strips adhesively secured to and overlying the full length of the several gore junctures at the outside of the balloon, each strip and the two gores associated therewith being folded flat at the juncture, with the strip at the outside of the fold, the number of gores being even, and the strips being stacked together in two equal groups at opposite sides of a plane containing the axis of the balloon, the gores associated with each group being further folded longitudinally.

8. A folded balloon comprising a plurality of gores of heat-scalable thermoplastic material, each gore being marginally sealed to the adjacent two gores, reinforcing strips adhesively secured to and overlying the full length of the several gore junctures at the outside of the balloon,

each strip and the two gores associated therewith being folded flat at the juncture, with the strip at the outside of the fold, the number of gores being even, and the strips being stacked together in two equal groups at opposite sides of a plane containing the axis of the balloon, two of the gores connecting each group to the other group, the intermediate portions of the two group-connecting gores being folded accordion-wise.

9. A folded balloon comprising a plurality of gores of heat-scalable thermoplastic material, each gore being marginally sealed to the adjacent two gores, reinforcing strips adhesively secured to and overlying the full length of the several gore junctures at the outside of the balloon, each strip and the two gores associated therewith being folded flat at the juncture, with the strip at the outside of the fold, the number of gores being even, and the strips being stacked together in two equal groups at opposite sides of a plane containing the axis of the balloon, two of the gores connecting each group to the other group, the intermediate portion of one of the two group-connecting gores being folded accordion-wise.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,362,488 Iahn Nov. 14, 1944 2,526,719 Winzen Oct. 24, 1950 2,598,696 Huch June 3, 1952 2,635,834 Huch Apr. 21, 1953 FOREIGN PATENTS 462,722 Great Britain Mar. 10, 1937

Claims (1)

  1. 5. A FOLDED BALLON COMPRISING A PLURALITY OF GORES OF HEAT-SEALABLE THERMOPLASTIC MATERIAL, EACH GORE BEING MARGINALLY SEALED TO THE ADJACENT TWO GORES, REINFORCING STRIPS ADHESIVELY SECURED TO A OVERLYING THE FULL LENGTH OF THE SEVERAL GORE JUNCTURES AT THE OUTSIDE OF THE BALLOON, EACH STRIP AND TWO GORES ASSOCIATED THEREWITH BEING FOLDED FLAT AT THE JUNCTURE, WITH THE STRIP AT THE OUTSIDE OF THE FOLD.
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Cited By (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2830923A (en) * 1954-11-03 1958-04-15 Gen Mills Inc Method of closing the end of a balloon envelope
US2977069A (en) * 1955-10-04 1961-03-28 William F Huch Balloon launching method and apparatus
US2997259A (en) * 1958-03-24 1961-08-22 William F Huch Balloon weigh-off and launching means and method
US3063657A (en) * 1959-12-21 1962-11-13 Ernest A Coester Balloon and method of inflating the same
US3110457A (en) * 1962-08-06 1963-11-12 Jr Arthur D Struble Variable volume balloon
US3357515A (en) * 1963-08-01 1967-12-12 Westland Aircraft Ltd Flexible underportions for ground effect vehicles
US3533865A (en) * 1966-04-08 1970-10-13 Centre Nat Etd Spatiales Method for continuous welding of plastics sheets,in particular for use in the manufacture of exploratory balloons
US4042882A (en) * 1976-10-18 1977-08-16 Camacho Gustavo G Radio-balloon distress signal
US20120312911A1 (en) * 2011-06-13 2012-12-13 Stephen Heppe Airship launch from a cargo airship
US20150021427A1 (en) * 2011-06-13 2015-01-22 Stephen B. Heppe Airship launch from a cargo airship
US20150360763A1 (en) * 2012-12-07 2015-12-17 Raven Industries, Inc. High altitude balloon system
US20160288894A1 (en) * 2012-12-07 2016-10-06 Kurt L. Sehnert Atmospheric balloon system

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB462722A (en) * 1935-09-10 1937-03-10 Sueto Nonaka Improvements in and relating to parachutes
US2362488A (en) * 1941-06-26 1944-11-14 Leroy B Jahn Parachute
US2526719A (en) * 1948-04-02 1950-10-24 Gen Mills Inc Balloon construction
US2598696A (en) * 1951-02-13 1952-06-03 Gen Mills Inc Balloon with no load ring
US2635834A (en) * 1951-12-05 1953-04-21 Gen Mills Inc Balloon and method of packaging balloons

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB462722A (en) * 1935-09-10 1937-03-10 Sueto Nonaka Improvements in and relating to parachutes
US2362488A (en) * 1941-06-26 1944-11-14 Leroy B Jahn Parachute
US2526719A (en) * 1948-04-02 1950-10-24 Gen Mills Inc Balloon construction
US2598696A (en) * 1951-02-13 1952-06-03 Gen Mills Inc Balloon with no load ring
US2635834A (en) * 1951-12-05 1953-04-21 Gen Mills Inc Balloon and method of packaging balloons

Cited By (17)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2830923A (en) * 1954-11-03 1958-04-15 Gen Mills Inc Method of closing the end of a balloon envelope
US2977069A (en) * 1955-10-04 1961-03-28 William F Huch Balloon launching method and apparatus
US2997259A (en) * 1958-03-24 1961-08-22 William F Huch Balloon weigh-off and launching means and method
US3063657A (en) * 1959-12-21 1962-11-13 Ernest A Coester Balloon and method of inflating the same
US3110457A (en) * 1962-08-06 1963-11-12 Jr Arthur D Struble Variable volume balloon
US3357515A (en) * 1963-08-01 1967-12-12 Westland Aircraft Ltd Flexible underportions for ground effect vehicles
US3533865A (en) * 1966-04-08 1970-10-13 Centre Nat Etd Spatiales Method for continuous welding of plastics sheets,in particular for use in the manufacture of exploratory balloons
US4042882A (en) * 1976-10-18 1977-08-16 Camacho Gustavo G Radio-balloon distress signal
US9522733B2 (en) * 2011-06-13 2016-12-20 Stratospheric Airships, Llc Airship launch from a cargo airship
US20150021427A1 (en) * 2011-06-13 2015-01-22 Stephen B. Heppe Airship launch from a cargo airship
US9669917B2 (en) * 2011-06-13 2017-06-06 Stephen B. Heppe Airship launch from a cargo airship
US20120312911A1 (en) * 2011-06-13 2012-12-13 Stephen Heppe Airship launch from a cargo airship
US10457394B2 (en) 2011-06-13 2019-10-29 Stratospheric Airships, Llc Airship launch from a cargo airship
US9463861B2 (en) * 2012-12-07 2016-10-11 Raven Industries, Inc. High altitude balloon system
US20160288894A1 (en) * 2012-12-07 2016-10-06 Kurt L. Sehnert Atmospheric balloon system
US20150360763A1 (en) * 2012-12-07 2015-12-17 Raven Industries, Inc. High altitude balloon system
US9845141B2 (en) * 2012-12-07 2017-12-19 Raven Industries, Inc. Atmospheric balloon system

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