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Aircraft interior lavatory

Imported: 13 Feb '17 | Published: 11 Oct '16

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A lavatory for an aircraft cabin includes a wall having a forward wall portion disposed immediately aft of and substantially conforming to an exterior aft surface of an aircraft cabin structure, such as a passenger seat, that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane. The forward wall portion includes a forward projection over an aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat. The forward wall portion can define a secondary space in the interior lavatory space, which can provide an amenity stowage space, and can include design elements providing visual space.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of and claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Ser. No. 14/709,378, filed May 11, 2015, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 14/043,500, filed on Oct. 1, 2013, U.S. Pat. No. 9,073,641, issue date Jul. 7, 2015, which is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 13/089,063, filed on Apr. 18, 2011, U.S. Pat. No. 8,590,838, issue date Nov. 26, 2013, which claims priority from Provisional Application No. 61/326,198, filed Apr. 20, 2010, and Provisional Application No. 61/346,835, filed May 20, 2010, which are incorporated by reference in their entirety herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to aircraft enclosures, and more particularly relates to an aircraft cabin enclosure, such as a lavatory, an aircraft closet, or an aircraft galley, for example, including an aircraft cabin structure having an aft portion with a substantially vertically extending exterior aft surface that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane.

Aircraft lavatories, closets and other full height enclosures commonly have forward walls that are flat in a vertical plane. Structures such as passenger seats installed forward of such aircraft lavatories, closets and similar full height enclosures often have shapes that are contoured in the vertical plane. The juxtaposition of these flat walled enclosures and contoured structures renders significant volumes unusable to both the function of the flat walled lavatory or enclosure and the function of the contoured seat or other structure. Additionally, due to the lack of a provision for structural load sharing, conventional aircraft lavatories require a gap between the lavatory enclosures and adjacent structures, resulting in a further inefficiency in the use of space.

Aircraft bulkheads, typically separating passenger cabin areas or classes of passenger service, are in common use, and typically have a contour permitting passengers seated behind the bulkhead to extend their feet modestly under the premium seats immediately forward of the bulkhead. These provide a comfort advantage to passengers seated behind the bulkhead, but provide no increased efficiency in the use of space, in that they do not enable the seats fore and aft of the bulkhead to be placed more closely together. Short, floor-mounted stowage boxes, typically no taller than the bottom cushion of a passenger seat, are often positioned between the flat wall of current lavatories or other enclosures and passenger seats. These provide no improvement to the utility or spatial efficiency of the lavatory or other enclosure. While they do provide some useful stowage for miscellaneous items, they do not provide sufficient additional stowage to provide more space for passenger seating.

It would be desirable to provide an aircraft lavatory or other enclosure that can reduce or eliminate the gaps and volumes of space previously required between lavatory enclosures and adjacent structures to allow an adjacent structure such as passenger seating installed forward of the lavatory or other enclosure to be installed further aft, providing more space forward of the lavatory or enclosure for passenger seating or other features than has been possible in the prior art. Alternatively, the present invention can provide a more spacious lavatory or other enclosure with no need to move adjacent seats or other structures forward.

It would also be desirable to provide an aircraft lavatory or other enclosure with a wall to bear loads from an adjacent passenger seating or other structure, permitting elimination of a required gap between the lavatory or other enclosure and the adjacent passenger seating or other structure, making more space available for other uses. In addition, enabling a lavatory or other enclosure to bear loads from an adjacent structure can reduce the combined weight of the lavatory or other enclosure and the adjacent structure.

It also would be desirable to provide an aircraft lavatory or other enclosure that can reduce or eliminate the gaps and volumes of space previously required between lavatory enclosures and adjacent structures, to allow the installation of an increased number of passenger seats, to increase the value of the aircraft. The present invention meets these and other needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, and in general terms, the present invention provides for an enclosure, such as a lavatory, an aircraft closet, or an aircraft galley, for example, for a cabin of an aircraft including a structure having an aft portion with a substantially vertically extending exterior aft surface that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane. The enclosure structure permits a combination of the enclosure with the structure in a manner that permits significant saving of space in the aircraft, which in turn permits more seats to be installed, or more space to be offered per seat, increasing the value of the aircraft.

Accordingly, in one presently preferred aspect, the present invention provides for an enclosure unit for a cabin of an aircraft including an aircraft cabin structure having an aft portion with an exterior aft surface that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane. The enclosure unit can be a lavatory, an aircraft closet, or an aircraft galley, for example. In one presently preferred aspect, the enclosure unit includes one or more walls that are taller than an adjacent aircraft cabin structure, the one or more walls defining an interior enclosure space and having a forward wall portion. The forward wall portion is configured to be disposed immediately aft of and adjacent to or abutting the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure, and the forward wall portion is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure.

In another presently preferred aspect, the enclosure unit includes an enclosure stall unit, and the aircraft cabin structure is a passenger seat installed immediately forward of the enclosure stall unit. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion of the enclosure unit is configured to accept loads from the aircraft passenger seat. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion includes a forward projection configured to project over an aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat immediately forward of the enclosure stall unit.

In another presently preferred aspect, the enclosure is a lavatory, including a lavatory stall unit with one or more walls having a forward wall portion. The one or more walls define an interior lavatory space, and the forward wall portion is configured to be disposed immediately aft of and adjacent to or abutting an aircraft cabin structure having an exterior aft surface having a shape that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane. In a presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure.

In another presently preferred aspect, the aircraft cabin structure is a passenger seat installed immediately forward of the lavatory stall unit, and the forward wall portion of the lavatory stall unit is configured to accept loads from the passenger seat. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion includes a forward projection configured to project over an aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat immediately forward of the lavatory stall unit. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion defines a secondary space in the interior lavatory space in an area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion. The secondary space can provide an amenity stowage space inside the lavatory stall unit in the area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion, and can include design elements providing visual space inside the lavatory in the area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion.

In another presently preferred aspect, the present invention provides for an assembly of an aircraft enclosure unit and an aircraft cabin structure for an aircraft cabin, the assembly in combination including an aircraft cabin structure having an exterior aft surface having a shape that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane, and an aircraft enclosure unit including at least one wall having a forward wall portion. The one or more walls define an interior enclosure space, the forward wall portion is disposed immediately aft of and adjacent to the aircraft cabin structure, and the forward wall portion is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure. In another presently preferred aspect, the aircraft cabin structure is a passenger seat installed immediately forward of the aircraft enclosure unit. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion is configured to accept loads from the aircraft passenger seat. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion includes a forward projection configured to project over an aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat immediately forward of the aircraft enclosure unit.

In another presently preferred aspect, the aircraft enclosure unit is a lavatory stall, and the one or more walls define an interior lavatory space. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion defines a secondary space in the interior lavatory space in an area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion.

In another presently preferred aspect, the present invention provides for an assembly of an aircraft lavatory unit and an aircraft cabin structure for an aircraft cabin, in which the assembly in combination includes an aircraft cabin structure having an exterior aft surface having a shape that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane, and an aircraft lavatory stall unit including one or more walls having a forward wall portion. In another presently preferred aspect, the one or more walls define an interior lavatory space, the forward wall portion is disposed immediately aft of and adjacent to the aircraft cabin structure, and the forward wall portion is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure. In another presently preferred aspect, the aircraft cabin structure is a passenger seat installed immediately forward of the aircraft lavatory stall unit, and wherein the forward wall portion of the aircraft lavatory stall unit is configured to accept loads from the passenger seat. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion includes a forward projection configured to project over an aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat immediately forward of the aircraft lavatory stall unit. In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion defines a secondary space in the interior lavatory space in an area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion.

These and other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings, which illustrate by way of example the features of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, which are provided by way of example, and not by way of limitation, the present invention provides for an enclosure 10, such as a lavatory for a cabin 12 of an aircraft (not shown), although the enclosure may also be an aircraft closet, or an aircraft galley, or similar enclosed or structurally defined spaces, for example. As is illustrated in FIG. 2, the cabin includes a structure 14, and the enclosure may be taller than the cabin structure. The cabin structure can be a passenger seat 16, for example, installed immediately forward of the enclosure and having an aft portion 18 with and exterior aft surface 20 that is substantially not flat in a vertical plane 22. The lavatory includes a lavatory stall unit 24 having one or more walls 26 having a forward wall portion 28. The one or more walls define an interior lavatory space 30, and the forward wall portion is configured to be disposed immediately aft of and adjacent to or abutting the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure. The forward wall portion has a shape that is substantially not flat in the vertical plane, and preferably is shaped to include a recess 34 such that the forward wall portion substantially conforms to the shape of the exterior aft surface of the aircraft cabin structure. In a presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion of the lavatory stall unit is configured to accept loads from the passenger seat. As shown in FIG. 2, the forward wall portion 28 can be configured to provide a lower recess 100 formed between the forward wall portion 28 and the cabin deck 102. As also shown in FIG. 2, the lower recess 100 can be configured to receive at least a portion of an aft-extending seat support 17 therein. As can be seen by comparing FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the recess 34 and the lower recess 100 combine to permit the passenger seat 16 to be positioned farther aft in the cabin than would be possible if the lavatory enclosure 10 included a conventional flat and vertical forward wall without recesses like that shown in FIG. 1, or included a forward wall that did not include both recesses 34, 100.

In another presently preferred aspect, the forward wall portion defines a secondary space 36 in the interior lavatory space in an area 38 forward of an aft-most portion 40 of the forward wall portion, and the forward wall portion includes a forward projection 42 configured to project over the aft portion of the adjacent passenger seat back 44 immediately forward of the lavatory stall unit. The secondary space can include an amenity stowage space 46 inside the lavatory stall unit in the area forward of the aft-most portion of the forward wall portion, and the secondary space can include design elements providing visual space, such as a visual perception of space, inside the lavatory in the area forward of an aft-most portion of the forward wall portion.

It will be apparent from the foregoing that while particular forms of the invention have been illustrated and described, various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

Claims

1. An aircraft lavatory for a cabin of an aircraft, the aircraft lavatory comprising:
a forward wall partition configured to be disposed proximate to and aft of a passenger seat and including an exterior surface having a shape that is substantially not flat, the forward wall partition including
at least one first recess configured to receive at least a portion of an upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat therein, and
at least one second recess configured to receive at least a portion of an aft-extending seat support of the passenger seat therein when at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat is received within the at least one first recess;
wherein the at least one first recess and the at least one second recess cooperate to provide additional space forward of the aircraft lavatory for said aft-extending seat support to be positioned further aft in the cabin when compared with a position of said aft-extending seat support if said forward wall partition was instead substantially flat.
a forward wall partition configured to be disposed proximate to and aft of a passenger seat and including an exterior surface having a shape that is substantially not flat, the forward wall partition including
at least one first recess configured to receive at least a portion of an upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat therein, and
at least one second recess configured to receive at least a portion of an aft-extending seat support of the passenger seat therein when at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat is received within the at least one first recess;
wherein the at least one first recess and the at least one second recess cooperate to provide additional space forward of the aircraft lavatory for said aft-extending seat support to be positioned further aft in the cabin when compared with a position of said aft-extending seat support if said forward wall partition was instead substantially flat.
at least one first recess configured to receive at least a portion of an upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat therein, and
at least one second recess configured to receive at least a portion of an aft-extending seat support of the passenger seat therein when at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat is received within the at least one first recess;
2. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the forward wall partition is shaped to substantially conform to the shape of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat.
3. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the forward wall partition is configured to accept loads from at least the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back.
4. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the forward wall partition further includes a projection configured to project over the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back when at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back is received within the at least one first recess and at least a portion of the aft-extending seat support is received within the at least one second recess.
5. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back is in an upright and not a reclined position.
6. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the at least one first recess extends along substantially a full width of the forward wall partition.
7. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the at least one second recess consists of a single recess that extends along substantially a full width of the forward wall partition.
8. The aircraft lavatory of claim 1, wherein the at least one first recess and the at least one second recess permit the passenger seat to be positioned in a manner that reduces a volume of unusable space in the cabin by reducing or eliminating gaps that would otherwise exist between a substantially flat forward wall partition of the aircraft lavatory and the passenger seat.
9. A method for reducing a volume of unusable space in a cabin area of a passenger aircraft, comprising:
replacing at least a previously-installed forward wall of a pre-existing full height lavatory unit in the cabin area of the passenger aircraft with a contoured forward wall, wherein
an outward facing vertical surface of the previously-installed forward wall is substantially flat, and
the contoured forward wall comprises
at least one lower recess adjacent the floor the cabin area, and
an upper recess above the at least one lower recess; and
installing a passenger seat in front of the contoured forward wall, wherein the passenger seat comprises an upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back, and a seat support including an aft-extending portion;
wherein, upon installation,
the upper recess receives at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat, and
the at least one lower recess receives at least a portion of the aft-extending portion of the seat support,
thereby permitting the passenger seat to be positioned farther aft in the cabin area than was possible with the previously-installed forward wall.
replacing at least a previously-installed forward wall of a pre-existing full height lavatory unit in the cabin area of the passenger aircraft with a contoured forward wall, wherein
an outward facing vertical surface of the previously-installed forward wall is substantially flat, and
the contoured forward wall comprises
at least one lower recess adjacent the floor the cabin area, and
an upper recess above the at least one lower recess; and
installing a passenger seat in front of the contoured forward wall, wherein the passenger seat comprises an upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back, and a seat support including an aft-extending portion;
wherein, upon installation,
the upper recess receives at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat, and
the at least one lower recess receives at least a portion of the aft-extending portion of the seat support,
thereby permitting the passenger seat to be positioned farther aft in the cabin area than was possible with the previously-installed forward wall.
an outward facing vertical surface of the previously-installed forward wall is substantially flat, and
the contoured forward wall comprises
at least one lower recess adjacent the floor the cabin area, and
an upper recess above the at least one lower recess; and
at least one lower recess adjacent the floor the cabin area, and
an upper recess above the at least one lower recess; and
the upper recess receives at least a portion of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat, and
the at least one lower recess receives at least a portion of the aft-extending portion of the seat support,
thereby permitting the passenger seat to be positioned farther aft in the cabin area than was possible with the previously-installed forward wall.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein upon installation the contoured forward wall is adapted to receive loads from the passenger seat.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the upper recess substantially conforms to a contour of an aft surface of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back.
12. The method of claim 9, wherein the contoured forward wall further comprises an upper projection that, upon installation, protrudes forward over a top of the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the upper projection is configured to abut an upper surface of the cabin area.
14. The method of claim 9, wherein the upper recess extends along substantially a full width of the contoured forward wall.
15. The method of claim 9, wherein the upper recess and the at least one lower recess permit the passenger seat to be positioned in a manner that reduces a volume of unusable space in the cabin area by reducing or eliminating gaps that existed between the previously-installed forward wall and the passenger seat.
16. The method of claim 9, wherein a combined weight of the contoured forward wall and the passenger seat is reduced in comparison to a combined weight of the previously installed forward wall and the passenger seat.
17. The method of claim 9, wherein the upwardly and aftwardly inclined seat back of the passenger seat is in an upright and not a reclined position.