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Switchblade Progress Report, February 1, 2010

We are still finishing the testing of the ground prototype prior to sending the information to the structural engineer for the fuselage (body).  The molds for carbon fiber parts are extremely expensive, and we don’t want to waste $80,000 on a set of molds that had some minor but necessary change (if we can help it).

While waiting for the new engine kit (converting the Hayabusa motorcycle engine to an automotive-style engine), we are applying skin to the vehicle to allow for some creature comfort while testing in winter conditions.  We are applying aluminum skins to the steel frame with tabs and a rivet, knowing this is a short-term use.  While the large flat area in the front will increase drag for any additional high-speed tests we may want to do, it will be somewhat offset by removing the bulk of the exposed tube frame.  As funny as it may sound, round tubing creates considerable aerodynamic drag.

A lexan windscreen is next, and mounting for this is now in place.  The Hayabusa engine with motorcycle transmission places quite a few gears and bearing points between the engine and the prop, which we feel will be better served by removing.  In the new arrangement, which is close to what feel we would provide on the finished vehicle, the engine crank (where the power comes out) is extended to include two cogged belt drives that power the propeller.  Each belt is capable of 100% power transmission, so failure of one will not compromise the flight.

The crank continues past that to power the upper part of the CVT (continuously variable transmission).  There are CVT’s that are powerful enough to run well over 400hp without failing, so we feel certain that we can establish fairly good longevity for the ground transmission using this system at less than 200hp.  It is lightweight and easily serviceable, although you won’t have the satisfaction of ‘shifting through the gears’.

More to come, and thanks again for keeping up on this and telling your friends.  We are doing something that we feel can make a difference in transportation, let alone flight.  No more hangar fees, no more high fuel cost, fly when you want to, and drive when you don’t.



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