On Thursday we wrapped up our Switchblade wind tunnel testing at the University of Washington in Seattle and are waiting for the final results. One thing that surprised us was that the body, or fuselage, of our 1/4 scale model contributed to the overall lift in an unusual way.
Typically wings provide the lift for an aircraft, enabling it to fly through the air. When you fly at steeper angles to the wind, you eventually hit a point where the air can no longer stay connected to the wing surfaces and the wings stall, losing lift. This is the point that most aircraft stop flying, which is of considerable concern to pilots and can certainly cause problems.
What we found was that the Switchblade fuselage shape contributed not only to lift during flight (unusual by itself), but kept the stall from happening well beyond the normal boundaries of flight. This should contribute significantly to the safety of the Switchblade in normal use. We will know more soon, but this is what we can say at this point.
We will post more photos of the testing shortly, so stay tuned.