Interesting Patents | Bell Textron | Thursday, March 16, 2023
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants hundreds of new patents every week, showcasing developments in technology and innovation. In our Interesting Patents series, we highlight exciting US patent applications and patents recently issued by the USPTO. The patent system enables the protection of innovative ideas, and newly published patent applications provide a glimpse into the future of technology and innovation.
In this edition of #InterestingPatents, we explore a recent patent application from Bell Textron that unveils a groundbreaking quad tilt rotor unmanned aircraft.
This innovative design boasts improved efficiency, safety, and transportability, making it a versatile solution for applications such as drone delivery systems and payload deliveries in both manned and unmanned configurations. The unique multi-tilt rotor configuration, featuring fixed aft rotors and tilt fore rotors, not only extends the service life of the aircraft but also enhances its safety by providing redundancy and adaptability to varying conditions. Furthermore, the aircraft can be easily disassembled and packed into shipping containers for global deployment, demonstrating its practicality in a variety of scenarios. As a pioneer in vertical rotor aircraft, Bell Textron’s inventive design has the potential to reshape the aviation landscape and contribute to the future of efficient, safe, and easily transportable aerial vehicles.
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Quad Tilt Rotor Unmanned Aircraft
APPLICANT: BELL TEXTRON
US PAT. APPL. NO. 17/477,180
A patent application assigned to Bell Textron has published that describes a multi-tilt rotor aircraft designed to improve efficiency, safety, and transportability for portable aerial vehicles. The publication describes features such as fixed aft rotors and tilt fore rotors, making it suitable for various applications, including drone delivery systems and manned or unmanned payload deliveries. The unique design could allow for easy transportation by disassembling and packing the aircraft into shipping containers.
The multi-tilt rotor aircraft described in the application includes improved efficiency and an extended service life over other designs. The fixed aft rotors reduce complexity of the aerial vehicle and decrease wear, extending its service life. The application also describes that fixed aft rotors can be stopped during cruise, further reducing wear on the components.
The greater reliability and longer service life of the aerial vehicle contribute to enhancing the safety of this multi-tilt rotor aircraft. By having multiple axes of thrust the aircraft can adapt to varying winds or other forces. Additionally, the multiple rotors provide redundancy so if one rotor malfunctions, the remaining rotors can be used to minimize damage and try to safely land. The design can also accommodate varying payloads in both manned and unmanned configurations so that the trust of the multiple rotors can adapt to changing centers of gravity. The aircraft’s engine configurations can vary, including electric propulsion. Hybrid engines, all-electric, gasoline engines, and could also be used. The increased efficiency of this design is particularly suitable for delivery systems worldwide.
The patent application also describes a packable configuration of the aircraft that can be disassembled, packed into shipping containers, and reassembled at the desired location, offering a practical solution for global deployment. The patent showcases various methods for packing and transporting the aircraft. The application describes that the wings can be detached or separated from the rotors, allowing for easy storage in shipping containers. There are also multiple other possible packing methods to provide flexibility for transportation needs.
Bell Textron has a long history with vertical rotor aircraft, and the rotor aircraft detailed in this patent application presents a promising future for aviation, addressing efficiency, safety, and transportability concerns. As technology advances and more efficient propulsion systems are developed, this multi-tilt rotor aircraft concept may soon deliver packages worldwide.
An aircraft is described with both VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) capabilities and convention airplane capabilities. A preferred embodiment comprises a fuselage and fixed wing, with one boom on either side of the fuselage. Each boom comprises a tilt rotor on a fore end and a fixed rotor on the aft end. Both rotors can be directed vertically for VTOL capability. During cruise the tilt rotors can be directed forward for thrust and the fixed rotors can be stopped and directed along the boom axis, minimizing drag. The described embodiments have advantages in weight savings and maneuverability compared to other VTOL aircraft.
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