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Switchblade Progress Report, September 9, 2011

The first radio controlled 1/4 scale model of the Switchblade is coming along nicely. Steering, suspension, and back-bone frame are completed and ready for the fiberglass skins that are being developed still. The next step is to have cores precisely machined so that we can build molds from them, and then make fiberglass parts that can be assembled into the final vehicle – much like a real aircraft. The body will be nearly four feet long (1.2m), and wingspan is over six feet (2m).

The wood ribbing in the images above show the size of the vehicle body in relation to the wheels, steering, etc. For those who want to build an RC model for yourselves, please email in your preference on cockpit glazing, as it is more expensive to do clear glazing than have a painted cockpit window. Do you want the RC model kit to have clear glazing for more realistic look at a higher price, or provide it as cheaply as we can by using a painted windscreen? Email to: sbousfield@samsonsky.com

We are beginning to build the relationships with several universities that would enable graduate students to participate in some of the advanced work, and may also involve wind tunnel testing of the 1/4 scale model.

On the full-scale prototype, the propeller design has been accomplished as part of the ducted fan design. The propeller has some unique features and blade configuration (mostly angle of attack), dictated by the speed of airflow through the duct.

It is based on the Warp Drive propeller mounting system, at least for the prototype. We have talked with other propeller companies, and the final propeller is still under consideration. With the fixed pitch propeller for the prototype, we will be using the wheels powered at take-off to assist in getting up to speed quickly. This allows the prop to be designed more for cruise and climb, while still improving take-off performance. The wheels will be disconnected during flight, as it would be a waste of energy to have them spun during flight with little or no benefit.

-The Samson Team



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