Tilt-ball turret with gimbal lock avoidance

  • US 10,081,441 B2
  • Filed: 10/09/2015
  • Issued: 09/25/2018
  • Est. Priority Date: 08/29/2011
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. An aircraft having a sensor for viewing at or below the ground horizon, the aircraft comprising:

  • a fuselage; and

    a turret assembly coupled to the fuselage, the turret assembly including;

    a roll actuator including a drive shaft;

    a yoke having a pair of prongs coupled to the drive shaft, the yoke being rotatable via the roll actuator and drive shaft along a roll axis oriented substantially parallel to a center axis of the aircraft;

    a turret mounted on the prongs of the yoke for rotation along atilt axis perpendicular to the roll axis;

    a tilt actuator operable to tilt the turret about the tilt axis; and

    the sensor housed in the turret for tilting therewith about the tilt axis and rolling therewith about the roll axis; and

    a wiring harness for delivery of electrical signals to and from the turret, the wiring harness including one or more wires having a first portion that extends through the drive shaft and a second portion that is mounted exteriorly of a first prong of the yoke, between the first prong and the turret,wherein when the aircraft is flying level, the roll axis extending forward of the aircraft is aimed at an angle above the ground horizon, such that gimbal lock is avoided when the field of view of the sensor is directed below the ground horizon.

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