Air Force workers awarded patent

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Two modeling and fabrication shop workers from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s information directorate here have been awarded a patent for developing an advanced aircraft ground power unit for Army Comanche helicopters.

Michael Iselo, shop supervisor, and production controller Timothy Hurley shared the patent award with Paul Sargent, a contract employee with L&E Associates, and Anthony Brown, currently on active duty with the Army in Tennessee.

The four developed a self-propelled support unit for the Army's new Comanche helicopter after a full-scale model of the futuristic stealth aircraft arrived here in June 1997 for a series of antenna measurement tests. The tests were conducted at the directorate's "upside-down Air Force" research facility in rural Newport, N.Y.

Sargent, then an Army master sergeant, identified the need for an easier power unit. These provide hydraulic, electrical, cooling and pneumatic air to run all systems on an aircraft without having to actually run onboard power units.

Rather than trying to modify an existing unit, Iselo said requirements for the Comanche were documented, and so the groundwork for developing the "AGPU 2000" was laid. The goal was to build one that would meet all aircraft requirements and be easiest and most complete unit to date.

The result, according to officials here, is a self-propelled system featuring a tubular frame and removable panels.

"All components were added in positions to try to maximize location, with an emphasis placed on all systems working in coordination," Iselo said.

He said the inventor quartet incorporated a "rail and roller technique" so major components could be easily mounted on the vehicle. Tool boxes, tie-down points and a portable maintenance aid were added to make a more complete product.

With an eye toward serving many different advanced technology aircraft of various military services, officials re-designated the new product as the Joint Aviation Ground Support System.

Iselo and Hurley could potentially share annual awards of up to $2,000 if the system is produced. The Army is currently considering production. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)