Patent application title: AIRDROP DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR WATER AND FIRE MAKING SUPPLIES
Robert Mooney (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Dale C. Hedrick (Kittery, ME, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D7700FI
Class name: Special receptacle or package combined or convertible
Publication date: 2012-12-27
Patent application number: 20120325693
An airdrop package for fuel and water is disclosed. A plurality of hollow
cylinders are made of combustible firelog material. Closed water
container nested within at least some of the plurality of hollow
cylinders. The airdrop package for the plurality of hollow cylinders has
a plurality of interconnected flexible walls. The interconnected flexible
walls are atop an energy absorbing base. The flexible walls define an
array of compartments. The compartments are dimensioned to snugly contain
at least one of the hollow cylinders. The base and flexible walls absorb
energy upon ground impact of the airdrop package.
1. An airdrop-energy absorption package for water delivery comprising: a
plurality of hollow cylinders; closed water containers nested within at
least some of the plurality of hollow cylinders; and an airdrop packaging
for the plurality of hollow cylinders comprising; a plurality of
interconnected airdrop-energy absorbing flexible walls absorbing energy
upon ground impact of the airdrop package; and an airdrop-energy
9. The airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 1, wherein the interconnected flexible walls are made of corrugated cardboard.
10. The airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 1, wherein the interconnected flexible walls are made of waxed cardboard.
11. The airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 1; wherein the interconnected flexible walls form a lattice with regularly spaced compartments.
12. The airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 1; wherein one or more water containers are disposed within each of one or more of the compartments.
14. An airdrop-energy absorption package for water delivery comprising: a matrix of semi-rigid material comprising at least one of honeycomb-like interstice; each said interstice configured to absorb an impact energy; and a plurality of hollow cylinders nested within the interstices, the cylinders closable on opposed ends and having a water container nested therein.
15. The airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 14; wherein the hollow cylinders are round in cross-section in order to roll to absorb energy if released from the matrix of semi-rigid material upon a ground impact.
18. The airdrop airdrop-energy absorption package of claim 14 further comprising a banding on the outside of the box that at least partially retains the hollow cylinders upon a ground impact.
 The technical field of the invention relates generally to special receptacles or packages and more specifically to systems for airdrop delivery of supplies.
 During disasters of natural or man-made origins, or wartime, emergency supplies are often dropped by parachute from an airplane in an airdrop delivery. Emergency supplies can include water, food, cooking materials, shelter or tools.
 U.S. Pat. No. 3,342,439 discloses an aerial drop assembly for emergency supplies. Emergency supplies are lowered to the ground from an aircraft by an aerial drop, in a drop assembly. A protective container made of double-faced corrugated stock (i.e. cardboard) is attached to a parachute. A cushion may be inserted in the base of the container for additional cushioning. The cushion may be a pad reinforced with sheets of paper, sheet plastic or corrugated paper bonded to opposed faces of the pad.
 Delivery of water for drinking or cooking poses particular difficulties in airdrops. Water delivered in large containers typically cannot be hand carried out by soldiers or relief workers, as water is heavy. Bottled water is often lost as a result of bursting of plastic water bottles upon ground impact from the airdrop.
 There is thus a need for an improved airdrop delivery system for delivering water to soldiers, relief or other emergency workers or survivors in an emergency. It is a goal of the present invention to provide such an improved airdrop delivery system.
 Water for drinking or cooking, and fuel for fire making can be dropped by parachute from an airplane in an airdrop package. Water-filled containers delivered therewith can survive a ground impact. The packaging serves as fuel for fires, e.g. for cooking or warmth.
 The airdrop package has a plurality of hollow cylinders made of combustible firelog material. Within at least some of the hollow cylinders, closed water containers are nested. The airdrop package has a plurality of interconnected flexible walls atop an energy absorbing base. The flexible walls define an array of compartments. The compartments are dimensioned to snugly contain at least one of the hollow cylinders. Upon ground impact of the airdrop package, the base and flexible walls absorb energy.
 The airdrop package may have a matrix of semi-rigid material defining honeycomb-like interstices. The hollow cylinders, made of combustible firelog material, may be closable on opposed ends.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view of an airdrop delivery system for water and fire making supplies in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a drop unit, including a packed parachute and an assembled airdrop delivery system that is a variation of the airdrop delivery system of FIG. 1. The drop unit is shown exiting through the jump door of an airplane.
 FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a drop pallet, including a parachute system and a plurality of airdrop delivery systems such as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The drop pallet is shown exiting the airdrop platform of a military transport.
 FIG. 4 is an elevated front view of the airdrop delivery system of FIG. 2, showing effects of impact.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a soldier carrying canisters holding water bottles, the canisters having been delivered by and recovered from the airdrop delivery system of FIG. 1, 2 or 3.
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one of the canisters of FIG. 5.
 FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the canister of FIG. 6 with the top half removed and showing water bottles inside the canister.
 FIG. 8 is an elevated end view of the canister of FIG. 6.
 FIG. 9 is a perspective end view of canisters such as the canister of FIG. 5 or 6 loaded in the airdrop delivery system of FIG. 1, the canisters having an alternative closure device.
 With reference to FIG. 1, the airdrop delivery system 100 provides a system for getting water and combustible materials with which to build a fire to soldiers in a war zone, to disaster relief workers or to survivors in an emergency situation. The airdrop delivery system 100 for water and fire making materials and variations and various subassemblies thereof have improvements over known airdrop containers and airdrop delivery systems as will be described.
 Typically, a first package or set of packages in an airdrop delivers water, and a separate second package or set of packages in the airdrop or a subsequent airdrop delivers bundles of firewood, synthetic fire logs or other fire making materials. The airdrop delivery system 100 combines delivery of water and fire making materials in a single package or set of similar packages, and increases the recovery rate of intact water bottles as compared to previously available airdrop delivery methods or packages. Subassemblies of the airdrop delivery system 100 absorb impact as the package hits the ground at the end of the parachute-controlled descent, thus decreasing the tendency of plastic water bottles to burst upon ground impact of the package. Further, the packaging subassemblies provide fire making materials.
 In the version shown in FIG. 1, the airdrop delivery system 100 has an outside box 102 made of corrugated cardboard with front wall 104, rear wall 106, side walls 108 and 110, a top cap 112 and a bottom cap 114. Variations of the airdrop delivery system 100 have no outside box, or an outside box of differing shapes or made of other materials e.g. waxed cardboard, wood or wood products, or composite, and/or are banded or covered in plastic shrinkwrap.
 A load matrix core 130 with an array of horizontally oriented compartments 120 sits atop an energy absorbing base 132. The energy absorbing base 132 has in one embodiment an upper energy absorbing base 122 and a lower energy absorbing base 124, each of which is made of multiple sheets of corrugated cardboard, accordion-folded corrugated cardboard, molded and dried wood pulp or paper pulp, other wood products, or other energy absorbing material.
 The load matrix core 130 is a matrix of semi-rigid collapsible material defining honeycomb-like interstices. In the example shown in FIG. 1, horizontally oriented corrugated cardboard sheets 118 and vertically oriented corrugated cardboard sheets 116 are matrix walls defining an orthogonal array of the horizontally oriented compartments 120. Variations can have a lattice with vertically, horizontally and/or diagonally oriented matrix walls, vertical arrays, horizontal arrays, hexagonal arrays, triangular arrays, diagonally oriented arrays and arrays of other geometric arrangements of the compartments 120. Arrays can have orthogonal walls or walls at other angles with respect to each other, and compartments with regular spacing in one direction e.g. horizontally, vertically or diagonally, regular spacing in two directions e.g. horizontally and vertically, orthogonal diagonal directions, or non-orthogonal diagonal directions, regular spacing in three directions e.g. an hexagonal or triangular array, irregular spacings, regular spacings in one direction and irregular spacings in another direction and so on. Variations can be made of other materials as discussed above with regard to the outside box 102 and/or as discussed above with regard to the energy absorbing base 124.
 With reference to FIG. 2, a drop unit 200 that includes a variation of the airdrop delivery system 100 is exiting through the jump door 232 of an airplane 230. The jump hatch 234 is shown partially open, and is about to be opened further so that the drop unit 200 can proceed unimpeded.
 In the drop unit 200, a load matrix core 202 with orthogonally intersecting diagonally oriented matrix walls 204 and 206 sits atop an energy absorbing base 218. A bottom cap 220 contains the lower portions of the drop unit 200. Vertical banding 212 and horizontal banding 214 retain the subassemblies of the drop unit 200. A packed parachute 210 is attached at the top of the drop unit 200. Inserted into compartments defined by the matrix walls 204, 206 of the load matrix core 202 are cylindrical articles 208 for delivery. The cylindrical articles 208 herein depicted are hollow cylinders or canisters made of wood or wood product containing plastic water bottles, about which more will be described with reference to FIGS. 5-8.
 With reference to FIG. 3, multiples of the airdrop delivery system 100 can be bundled together and assembled onto a drop pallet 300 for delivery of larger amounts of water and fire making materials using a larger airplane, such as a C-17 military transport. The drop pallet 300 has a wood pallet for a base. The drop pallet 300 is shown exiting the airdrop platform 316 of an airplane 322 so-equipped. The airplane 322 is further equipped with a short aft anchor cable support 302, and anchor cable stop 304 and an anchor cable 312. A deployment parachute 306 atop the drop pallet 300 has a release-away static-line 308 clipped to the anchor cable 312. One or more strapping bars 326 and one or more straps 328 secure the multiples of the airdrop delivery system 100 on the drop pallet 300. When the drop pallet 300 clears the airdrop platform 316 and begins freefall, the static-line 308 initiates the opening of the deployment parachute 306. The drop pallet 300 then descends to the ground, slowed by the parachute.
 With reference to FIG. 4, effects of a ground impact on an airdrop delivery system 400 are shown, as are aspects of structure working to dissipate impact energy. Prior to impact, the load matrix 402 is intact and undistorted as shown, and has cylindrical articles 408 such as canisters containing water or water bottles stowed in compartments 410 formed by the intersecting matrix walls 404 and 406. The energy absorbing base 412 is likewise intact and undistorted. Banding 420, shown distorted after impact, is initially undistorted and surrounds the perimeter of the load matrix or surrounds the perimeter of the load matrix 402 and the energy absorbing base 412. Upon impact of the airdrop delivery system 400 with the ground e.g. as the drop unit 200 or the drop pallet 300 completes the descent, the energy absorbing base 412 compresses. Depending on severity of impact, the load matrix 402 may arrive relatively intact.
 However, the load matrix 402 has features designed to absorb impact energy so that fewer of the plastic water bottles burst in a less gentle landing of the airdrop delivery system 400. The matrix walls 404 and 406 of the load matrix 402, which may be made of cardboard, waxed cardboard or corrugated cardboard etc., are perforated to tear and absorb energy on impact.
 Water and fuel storage cylinders or canisters, or other cylindrical articles 408, are loaded horizontally to better enable the package to absorb impact energy with dissipation over a larger surface area as compared to vertically loaded water containers or other cylindrical articles 408. Further, the cylindrical articles 408 can roll if released from the load matrix 402 upon impact. Vertically loaded cylindrical articles would be less likely to dissipate impact energy and more likely to break or otherwise be damaged than horizontally loaded cylindrical articles.
 Reinforcement wedges 414 provide support and alignment at the bottom portion of the load matrix 402, and have an additional function. The reinforcement wedges 414 provide an impact focus at a joining location for the matrix walls 404 and 406, and promote splitting and tearing of the load matrix 402 to absorb and dissipate impact energy. Perforations as discussed above may be placed at such locations and elsewhere in the load matrix. The number and locations of the perforations can be varied according to material strength, desired control of splitting and tearing, mass of the cylindrical articles 408 and other factors.
 Upon a ground impact sufficient to tear portions of the load matrix 402, the cylindrical articles 408 will move in a downward direction 416 and an outward direction 418, and will either disburse out of the airdrop delivery system 400 or be retained by the banding 420. The banding 420 can bow outward as shown in FIG. 4 to retain some or all of the cylindrical articles 408.
 With reference to FIG. 5, a soldier 502 is shown carrying several canisters 500 that have been recovered from the airdrop delivery system 400 or variation thereof. Each canister 500 is one of the cylindrical articles 408 carried in the airdrop delivery system 400. The canisters 500 are strapped to the frame or other portion of the rucksack 504 the soldier 502 carries. A canister 500 can also be carried by grasping the closure device 506 which then functions as a handle. A canister overall length of 251/2 inches allows passage through standard doorways. Other dimensions may be devised, such as a maximum length of thirty inches.
 With reference to FIG. 6, a canister 600 such as carried in the airdrop delivery system 400 is a synthetic wood fuel log tube 602 made of combustible firelog material and holding water bottles inside (not visible in FIG. 6, and see FIG. 7). Each canister 600 is a package of drinking or cooking water and fire making fuel. The tube 602 has two opposed half-pipe sections 604 and 606 that are essentially identical. Having essentially identical half-pipe sections allows manufacture from a single mold. The essentially identical opposed half-pipe sections 604 and 606 may differ in fastener fittings such as apertures, notches or fastener mating hardware, or have differences resulting from manufacturing processes and tolerances or other minor considerations.
 Materials suitable for the combustible firelog material include cellulose fibers, pressed particles in a combustible binder, mixtures of resins and wax, compressed sawdust, compressed wood chips, wood pulp, paper, cardboard, corrugated cardboard and other wood products. Where drinking water is an intended use, the firelog material must house a compatible container, such as a plastic bottle or bag.
 A closure device 608 keeps the water bottles inside the tube 602, thus closing the respective end of the tube 602. The closure device 608 further holds the upper half-pipe section 604 and lower half-pipe section 606 together. In variations, both ends of the tube 602 have a respective closure device 608, or one end of the tube 602 has a closure device 608 and the other end of the tube 602 is closed off, or a bolt, screw or other fastener 610, 612 secures the closure device 608 to the tube 602. As discussed above, the closure device 608 can act as a handle. In further variations, the canister 600 has a closure device and a separate handle, a fastener and a separate handle, an extraction device for removing the canister from a compartment in the airdrop delivery system, or various combinations thereof. In still further variations, the canister has a unitary tube, complementary sections, unevenly divided sections, or more than two sections.
 With reference to FIG. 7, removal of one of the half-pipe sections of the canister 600 reveals the water bottles 702 held inside the tube 602. Upon removal of the closure device 608, one or more of the water bottles 702 can be removed from the tube 602 by sliding the water bottle 702 out the end of the tube 602 or by separating the two halves of the tube 602 and lifting the water bottle 702 out of the remaining half-pipe section 606 of the tube 602. Variations of the canister 600 and variations of the water bottle 702 have the canister 600 containing various numbers of water bottles e.g. 1-10 water bottles, water in other types of containers such as water bags, bladders or cans, or water mixed with vitamins, flavors or nutrients. Still further variations of the canister 600 deliver water and food, e.g. water in some of the bottles and food in others of the bottles or other containers.
 With reference to FIG. 8, further details of the canister 800 are shown. The upper half-pipe section 804 and lower half-pipe section 806 have mating alignment surfaces 822 that fit the two halves of the tube together. Further variations with or without mating alignment surfaces and variations of the mating alignment surfaces may be devised. The water bottle 820 fits snugly inside of the tube formed by the half-pipe sections 804 and 806. The wood or wood product of which the two half-pipe sections 804 806 are made provides high heat output when a fire is built using one or more such sections, and provides thermal insulation in cold weather to reduce, delay or prevent freezing of the water in the water bottles while in the canister 800.
 With reference to FIG. 9, a close-up view of the airdrop delivery system shows details in construction and materials of the matrix walls 902 and 904, and a variation in the canister 906. Multi-layered corrugated cardboard is used in making the matrix walls 902 and 904, which are deeply notched e.g. to one half of the depth of the compartment 908. A cotton lanyard 910 can be pulled in order to extract the canister 906 from the compartment 908 defined by the matrix walls 902 and 904. The cotton lanyard 910 can also be used as a fire wick, to start a fire using one or more of the wood fuel log tubes or the halves thereof.
 Various assumptions can be used to guide dimensioning of the airdrop delivery system and subassemblies, although further assumptions and further dimensions can be applied. A 10 by 10 array of compartments of a load matrix core has 100 compartments. Each compartment holds one canister with three water bottles of 16.9 fluid ounces each, for a total of 300 such water bottles or 39.6 gallons per drop module. A 96 inch by 88 inch drop skid holds six drop modules for a total of 237 gallons of water. At one gallon per soldier or relief worker per day, a 12 person team is sustained by one drop platform with water rations for 19.8 days, or 18 days with 10% loss on impact. Total weight of each canister, including water, is 4.7 pounds. Dividing 100 canisters, including water, among 12 people in a team results in each person carrying 42 pounds.
 Fire and fuel can be calculated using the above assumptions. 100 pressed wood canister units results in 200 halves. Each half unit burns for about three quarters of an hour. The total number of canisters thus provides 150 burn hours, or 37.5 burn hours with four halves per fire. This is equal to a four hour burn for each of 9.375 days.
 Dimensions of a further embodiment of the airdrop delivery system are as follows. An airdrop delivery system of 48 inches in length, 25.5 inches in width and 60 inches in height, including the energy absorbing base, holds 252 water bottles at a total weight of 300 pounds. The load matrix is made of 0.30 inch thick waxed cardboard.
 In versions made of cardboard, cardboard-related materials, wood and/or wood products, the entire contents of the airdrop delivery system except for the plastic water bottles will burn when ignited. The resultant fire provides soldiers, relief workers or survivors with heat and cooking capabilities. The unit contains plastic water bottles on the inside, which soldiers or other personnel use for drinking water while stationed at a post where neither fire nor water would otherwise be available. The airdrop delivery system combines the two survival requirements of fire building materials and water into one package, relieving the need for separate airdrops of firewood. The airdrop delivery system provides a solution to the problem of water delivery that can survive a ground impact, provides packaging that serves as fuel for fires, and provides packaging that supports all delivery modes. The airdrop delivery system enables transfer and carry of water and fire making supplies by each soldier or other personnel. In disaster, humanitarian or military situations, the airdrop delivery system described herein can be safely dropped by a helicopter from a height of 20 feet to 30 feet without a parachute and with impact survival.
Patent applications in class COMBINED OR CONVERTIBLE
Patent applications in all subclasses COMBINED OR CONVERTIBLE