Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 134)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on April 1, 2009

U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,555: Wing apparatus for skiers.

JW Note: Many thanks to Stephen Nipper at The Invent Blog for bringing this patent to our attention.

 skiflyer

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier, comprising harness means adapted to be worn by said skier, a left wing structure operatively carried by said harness means, a right wing structure operatively carried by said harness means, connecting means carried by said harness means for operatively connecting said left wing structure as to thereby have said left wing structure operatively carried by said harness means and for operatively connecting said right wing structure as to thereby have said right wing structure operatively carried by said harness means, said left wing structure having a first longitudinal axis extending generally transversely of said skier, said right wing structure having a second longitudinal axis extending generally transversely of said skier, wherein said connecting means enables said left wing structure to be selectively rotatable about said first longitudinal axis while operatively carried by said harness means, wherein said connecting means enables said right wing structure to be selectively rotatable about said second longitudinal axis while operatively carried by said harness means, wherein said connecting means enables said left and right wing structures to be respectively rotatable about said first and second axes independently of each other by said skier to respective selected positions while operatively carried by said harness means, wherein said connecting means is effective for establishing and maintaining a fixed relationship of said first longitudinal axis with respect to said harness means even during rotation of said left wing structure about said first longitudinal axis, and wherein said connecting means is effective for establishing and maintaining a fixed relationship of said second longitudinal axis with respect to said harness means even during rotation of said right wing structure about said second longitudinal axis.

2. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said connecting means comprises resilient means, said resilient means being resiliently deflectable in at least two directions of motion, and wherein when said left wing structure is selectively rotated in a first direction about said first longitudinal axis said resilient means resiliently urges said left wing structure in a second direction about said first longitudinal axis opposite to said first direction.

3. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 2 wherein said resilient means comprises torsion bar means.

4. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said connecting means comprises resilient means, said resilient means being resiliently deflectable in at least two directions of motion, and wherein when said right wing structure is selectively rotated in a first direction about said second longitudinal axis said resilient means resiliently urges said right wing structure in a second direction about said second longitudinal axis opposite to said first direction.

5. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 4 wherein said resilient means comprises torsion bar means.

6. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said connecting means comprises torsion bar means, said torsion bar means being resiliently torsionally deflectable in at least two directions of motion, wherein when said left wing structure is selectively rotated in a first direction about said first longitudinal axis said torsion bar means resiliently urges said left wing structure in a second direction opposite to said first direction about said first longitudinal axis, and wherein when said right wing structure is selectively rotated in a first direction about said second longitudinal axis said torsion bar means resiliently urges said right wing structure in a second direction about said second longitudinal axis opposite to said first direction about said second longitudinal axis.

7. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said torsion bar means comprises a single torsion bar operatively carried by said harness means.

8. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 2 wherein said resilient means is preset to establish a normal null position of said left wing structure, and wherein when said skier effectively releases said left wing structure after having selectively rotated said left wing structure in said first direction said resilient means is permitted to rotate said left wing structure in said second direction toward said normal null position.

9. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 4 wherein said resilient means is preset to establish a normal null position of said right wing structure, and wherein when said skier effectively releases said right wing structure after having selectively rotated said right wing structure in said first direction said resilient means is permitted to rotate said right wing structure in said second direction toward said normal null position.

10. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said torsion bar means is preset to establish a first normal null position of said left wing structure and a second normal null position of said right wing structure, wherein when said skier effectively releases said left wing structure after having selectively rotated said left wing structure in said first direction about said first longitudinal axis said torsion bar means is permitted to rotate said left wing structure in said second direction about said first longitudinal axis toward said first normal null position, and wherein when said skier effectively releases said right wing structure after having selectively rotated said right wing structure in said first direction about said second longitudinal axis said torsion bar means is permitted to rotate said right wing structure in said second direction about said second longitudinal axis toward said second normal null position.

11. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 10 wherein said first normal null position and said second normal null position are functionally equivalent so that when said left and right wing structures are in their respective first and second normal null positions said left and right wing structures are in substantial aerodynamic alignment with each other.

12. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said left wing structure is operatively connected to and supported by said torsion bar means in a cantilever-like fashion, and wherein said right wing structure is operatively connected to and supported by said torsion bar means in a cantilever-like fashion.

13. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said left wing structure is supported by and detachably secured to said torsion bar means, and wherein said right wing structure is supported by and detachably secured to said torsion bar means.

14. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said first and second longitudinal axes are in substantial axial alignment with each other.

15. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 2 wherein said first and second longitudinal axes are in substantial axial alignment with each other.

16. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 4 wherein said first and second longitudinal axes are in substantial axial alignment with each other.

17. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said first and second longitudinal axes are in substantial axial alignment with each other.

18. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 6 wherein said torsion bar means comprises a third longitudinal axis, and wherein said first second and third longitudinal axes are in substantial axial alignment with each other.

19. Appratus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said harness means comprises a substantially rigid breast plate member intended to be worn as against a forward portion of said skier’s torso, attachment means for securingly holding said breast plate member against said forward portion of said skier’s torso, and wherein said connecting means comprises resiliently deflectable torsion bar means operatively secured to said breast plate member, and wherein said left and right ski wing structures are each adapted for operative connection to said torsion bar means.

20. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 19 wherein said torsion bar means is situated with respect to said breast plate member as to be positioned generally between said breast plate member and said forward portion of said skier’s torso when said breast plate member is worn against said forward portion of said skier’s torso.

21. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 19 said attachment means comprises first and second flexible strap means each of which is operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member, wherein said first strap means passes from the breast plate member between the skiers legs and then around and behind the skier’s left leg, and wherein said second strap means passes from the breast plate member between the skier’s legs and then around and behind the skier’s right leg.

22. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 21 wherein said attachment means further comprises first and second flexible shoulder strap means each of which is operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member, and wherein said first and second shoulder strap means respectively engage the left and right shoulders of said skier.

23. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 22 said attachment means further comprises flexible girding type strap means operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member and generally passing around the back of said skier’s torso at least in the vicinity of said skier’s waist.

24. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 23 wherein said first and second flexible strap means at respective first ends thereof are directly connected to said rigid breast plate member, and wherein said first and second flexible strap means at respective second ends thereof are operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member by being directly connected to said girding type strap means.

25. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 23 said first and second shoulder strap means at respective first ends thereof are directly connected to said rigid breast plate member, and wherein said first and second shoulder strap means at respective second ends thereof are operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member by being directly connected to said girding type strap means.

26. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 19 wherein said attachment means comprises first and second flexible constraining mean operatively connected to said rigid breast plate member, wherein said first flexible constraining means substantially encircles and girdles said skier’s left leg, and wherein said second flexible constraining means substantially encircles and girdles said skier’s right leg.

27. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said left wing structure comprises a first outboard end and a first inboard end with said first inboard end being effective to be operationally situated relatively closer to said harness means than said first outboard end, wherein said left wing structure comprises manually engageable first control means situated at least near said first inboard end and engageable by the skier’s left hand in order to thereby selectively rotate said left wing structure about said first longitudinal axis, wherein said right wing structure comprises a second outboard end and a second inboard end with said second inboard end being effective to be operationally situated relatively closer to said harness means than said second outboard end, and wherein said right wing structure comprises manually engageable second control means situated at least near said second inboard end and engageable by the skier’s right hand in order to thereby selectively rotate said right wing structure about said second longitudinal axis.

28. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 27 wherein said first and second control means respectively comprise first and second lever-like means.

29. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 1 wherein said left wing structure comprises longitudinally extending first shaft means having functional first and second end portions, wherein said first end portion comprises a first hand grip portion for engagement by the skier’s left hand, wherein said second end portion comprises first attachment means, second attachment means operatively carried by said first shaft means at a location generally near said first hand grip portion, a first flexible fabric-like wing panel having first inboard and first outboard ends and having first leading and first trailing edges, wherein said first outboard end of said first flexible wing panel is operatively connected to and retained by said first attachment means, wherein said first inboard end of said first flexible wing panel is operatively connected to said second attachment means with said first leading edge and said first trailing edge both extending generally from said first outboard end to said first inboard end for creating a left air foil, wherein said right wing structure comprises longitudinally extending second shaft means having functional third and fourth end portions, wherein said third end portion comprises a second hand grip portion for engagement by the skiers right hand, wherein said fourth end portion comprises third attachment means, fourth attachment means operatively carried by said second shaft means at a location generally near said second hand grip portion, a second flexible fabric-like wing panel having second inboard and second outboard ends and having second leading and second trailing edges, wherein said second outboard end of said second flexible wing panel is operatively connected to and retained by said third attachment means, and wherein said second inboard end of said second flexible wing panel is operatively connected to said fourth attachment means with said second leading edge and said second trailing edge both extending from said second outboard end to said second inboard end for creating a right air foil.

30. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 29 wherein when said first flexible wing panel is operatively connected to said first and said second attachment means said first flexible wing panel is tensioned in a direction generally paralleling said longitudinally extending first shaft means, and wherein when said second flexible wing panel is operatively connected to said third and fourth attachment means said second flexible wing panel is tensioned in a direction generally paralleling said longitudinally extending second shaft means.

31. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 29 wherein said first longitudinally extending shaft means comprises first retainer means, wherein when said first flexible wing panel is detached from said first and second attachment means said first retainer means is effective to operatively retain said first inboard end in a retained condition generally along said first shaft means for enabling said first flexible wing panel to be wound about said first shaft means, wherein said second longitudinally extending shaft means comprises second retainer means, and wherein when said second flexible wing panel is detached from said third and fourth attachment means said second retainer means is effective to operatively retain said second inboard end in a retained condition generally along said second shaft means for enabling said second wing panel to be wound about said second shaft means.

32. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 29 wherein said second attachment means comprises a first cross-member carried by said first longitudinally extending shaft means as to be generally transversely situated with respect to said first longitudinally extending shaft means, wherein said fourth attachment means comprises a second cross-member carried by said second longitudinally extending shaft means, and further comprising first control means for use by said skier for selectively rotating said left wing structure about said first longitudinal axis, second control means for use by said skier for selectively rotating said right wing structure about said second longitudinal axis, wherein said first and second control means respectively comprise first and second manually engageable lever means, wherein said first lever means is carried by said first cross-member, and wherein said second lever means is carried by said second cross-member.

33. Apparatus for creating aerodynamic lift to a downhill skier according to claim 29, wherein said connecting means comprises torsion bar means extending generally transversely of said skier, wherein said first hand grip portion comprises first keying means, wherein said second hand grip portion comprises second keying means, wherein said left wing structure is operationally engageable with said torsion bar means by having said torsion bar means and said first keying means operatively connected to each other in a keyed relationship, and wherein said right wing structure is operationally engageable with said torsion bar means by having said torsion bar means and said second keying means operatively connected to each other in a keyed relationship.

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