Means and Apparatus for Propelling and Guiding Balloons

C. R. E. Wulff

Patented May 17, 1887

To all whom it may concern:

Be it know that I, Charles Richard Edouard Wulff, of Paris, in the Republic of France, have invented a new or improved Means and Apparatus for Propelling and Guiding Balloons, (for which I have obtained Letters Patent of France for fifteen years, dated April 21, 1886, No. 175,662;) and I do hereby declare that the following is a full and exact description thereof, reference being made to the accompanying drawings.

All attempts heretofore made to guide or steer balloons have comprised mechanical, electric or other motors for imparting the necessary speed and direction to the propelling parts. Attempts in this direction have generally been unsuccessful by reason of the weight of the motor and its accessories, and because the propelling and guiding parts are only imperfectly suited to the medium in which they are placed and against which they have to take their bearing. By this present invention the mechanical motor and propelling and guiding arrangements are replace by a living motor or motors taken from the flying classes of birds such as, for example one or more eagles, vultures, condors, &e. By means of suitable arrangements (clearly shown in the annexed drawings) all the qualities and powers given by nature to these most perfect kinds of birds may be completely utilized.

The invention consists in details of construction and combination of parts, as will be more fully hereinafter set forth. In the drawings hereto annexed, Figure 1 is an elevation of an air balloon with living propellers in accordance with this invention.

Fig. 2 is a plan with the parachute removed.

Fig. 3 is a transverse section of the same, and

Fig. 4 a perspective view of the harness for connection the birds to the balloon.

The balloon a may be of any suitable form and dimensions. It should be adapted to fulfill in the best possible way all the conditions indicated by theory and experience for obtaining the maximum speed of translation and perfectly stable equilibrium. The gas chambers are placed in front and behind. Their sizes are determined by the number of personas to be carried, and by the specific gravity of the materials and accessories entering into the constitution of the balloon. A car, b, is suspended to the balloon by means of a net and a metallic frame, e c, which connects these two principal parts rigidly together. In the car b is place the aeronaut, who has charge of the whole apparatus, and a reservoir of gas may also be placed therein to provide for leakages.

At the upper part is place a floor, d, which carries the overseer or person working the apparatus. This floor, which is shown of circular form, has its center placed in the vertical plane, which contains the center of gravity of the whole apparatus. A mast, f, is securely fixed in the center of the floor.

On the floor d rests, at any required height, a circular rail, g, concentric with the mast. On this rail roll four flanged rollers, h, mounted loosely on gudgeons on the ends of tow arms, k k', forming a cross. The boss I, toward which the arms k k' converge, fits freely on the mast f. A sleeve, j, connects this boss to the hand wheel m, place at a suitable height. By moving the hand wheel m in one direction or the other the cross k k' is turned round to there right or the left.

Besides the rollers h the ends of the cross k k' carry supports or stands n, which rise sufficiently high to be connected by hinges with the four corsets or metallic framed p, in which are secured by bands and shoulder straps p' the birds x, intended to draw and direct the balloon.

The corsets or harnesses p have forms and dimensions appropriate to the bodies of the birds chosen, such as eagles, vultures, condors, &e. The straps or girts p' secure the birds firmly, but leave their wings in perfect liberty. The corsets are capable of pivoting forward or back ward round the axis of the hinges l. These pivotings are effected on all four corsets p at eh same time by an arrangement of two rollers, r r', carried in suitable bearings bolted to the cross k k'. These rollers, actuated simultaneously by the crank q, transmit the desired movements to the corsets p by means of the cords or ropes s s' - one producing the forward oscillation and the other the backward. Ratchet wheels and pawls retain the rollers r r' in the required positions.

It will now be understood that as the balloon floats in the air the man place on the floor d can easily cause the cross k k' to turn by means of the hand wheel m, and, with the cross, the birds x, so as to utilize their flight in the direction of the axis of the balloon, or in an other direction he desires. On the other hand, by working the rollers r r' he can direct the flight of the birds upward or downward. The result of these arrangements is that the flight of the harnessed birds must produce the motion and direction of the balloon desired by the conductor, whether for going forward or backward, in a right line, to the right or to the left, or for ascending or descending.

It may be observed that the birds have only to fly, the direction of their flight being changed by the conductor quite independently of their own will.

The director or conductor in the car b may direct the person on the floor d by means of a speaking tube t, or other suitable means. When the apparatus stops, the birds rest on the stages u u', arranged behind them and moving with the cross k k'. A net or nets, v, is then lowered to prevent eh birds from flying. A rope ladder, w, enables the aeronauts to ascend from the car b to the floor d, or to descend from the floor to the car. The mast f serves to support a parachute, y, which protects the birds and serves especially to regulate the descent of the balloon.

The balloon should always remain as much as possible in stable equilibrium, both when on the ground and when floating in the air. No weight should be left to be supported by the harnessed birds, so that the whole of their flying power may be utilized for advancing or guiding the balloon. A store of ballast enables the conductor to obtain this result constantly.

When it is on the ground, the balloon rests on trips z z', connected to the fore and hinder parts of the balloon, and furnished at the feet with elastic devices such as springs, for example to prevent or deaden shock. These tripods z z' are connect to one another or to the car b. They form a solid and elastic whole, capable of resisting obstacles encountered. The charging and recharging of the balloon with gas is effected by the piping T, and generally by any known means and processes.

Finally, I observe that I can, without changing the principle of my invention or materially modifying the means already described for carrying it into execution, place the entire mechanical apparatus for supporting and directing the birds under the bottom of the car b. This arrangement will possess the advantages of increasing the stability and of permitting a single aeronaut to raise the balloon.

I do not claim a device for holding birds that are to carry and hold suspended a car or other aerial vehicle. Birds have not the power to do this for any reasonable length of time.

I claim-

1. In a balloon, the combination of the floor d, circular railway g, rollers h, cross k k', boss I, steering sleeve j m, standards n, and harnesses p, substantially as herein shown and described.

2. The net v, combined with the bird harness p and stage n, substantially as herein shown and described.

Charles Richard Edouard Wulff