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Monday, August 6th, 2012
We thought we should post a few pictures of our experience at AirVenture 2012 so that people who did not attend could gain a sense of the excitement generated by the Switchblade.
Samson Motors CEO Sam Bousfield giving a talk “Switchblade Flying Car Production” to a packed house of over 100 people.
Sam Bousfield speaking at the AeroInnovate Technology Showcase Stage on “Changing the Face of Personal Travel”.
Sam live on EAA radio’s Hot Start Show with hosts Digital Dave and Fast Eddie. The following morning Don Campbell gave an excellent interview.
Our action packed video showing milestones in the Switchblade development and our 1/4 scale unmanned prototype attracted a steady stream of people to the Samson Motors booth.
The Civil Air Patrol Blue Berets were a captivated audience during a talk about the Switchblade. Over 80% said that they would like to purchase one.
Sam Bousfield and company spokesman Don Campbell admiring the Cessna Caravan that they just finished touring.
Larry Moore, Samson Business Development and photographer with famed Tuskegee Airman, Beu Dunjill.
Sam with EAA Volunteer and Flying Car blogger,Tim, who conducted an hour long interview on the Samson Switchblade project. The video interview is to be used in EAA’s “The History of Aviation” program.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Changing the cg helped quite a bit, and we continued to change it to get closer to acceptable cg during testing today. The tail now has functioning rudders (not available the first day). The rudders also helped make testing easier and more fruitful. Rudder control and steering by the nose-wheel was uneventful – just what you want to see! We painted the tail of the fuselage (body) red – I would like to say in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, but it was really to give the test pilot better differentiation of the model attitude during testing.
Due to the work needed to ready the model for the second day of flight testing, we started late in the day once again, and did successively faster ground runs, advancing the cg and changing the pitch on the tail as we approached flight speeds. The wheels started to get ‘light’, and we inched closer to flight. Just at the end of the day, we pitched up and were airborne, although I cannot say that it was sustained flight. We could tell that the tail was still not working well for us. The whole vehicle was reduced to quarter scale for this first phase of testing. It is typical for a scale flying prototype that the tail surface area be increased for a scale model to fly well. We found the same result applied to the Switchblade, and are making an enlarged tail. We couldn’t get it ready to fly before AirVenture, so we shipped the model along, and will display it as an ‘in the works test program’ prototype, but now knowing we can fly. All in all, with only five hours of flight testing, we validated the ducted fan design (major accomplishment), verified rudder authority, tested the front wheel steering at speeds near take-off, and became airborne. We will pursue it further when we return.
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
The quarter scale model is coming together blazingly fast due to superhuman efforts of Joe Marine at Race Pro Engineering. He has been putting in 15 hour days+, and really working to make the deadline of first flight before AirVenture. We have the pilot lined up again, and video cameras ready for as soon as the plane is airworthy. Here are some images of progress. Joe has been working at closing in the back end of the vehicle. Due to the way the earlier molds were made, there are numerous small pieces to make up that area. We have sorted this out for the future molds, and for the full-size prototype, but due to time constraints, we have to make due with what we have in that area. Complicated! That is the word to describe things right now. Good for us, Joe is a problem solver and can sort quickly through layouts to make the best possible assembly.
Joe just weighed all parts, batteries, motor, spinner, prop and wheels. The total is just over 15 lb! Yahoo! We made it easily on weight, and have plenty of power. We still need to finish the last of the empennage (tail) mounting, control linkages, work out the correct center of gravity (cg), and make sure the plane is trimmed correctly for flight.
We have made the front wheel adjustable in height to easily change angle of attack there rather than de-mount the wing and change the angle through that means. When flight testing is done, we will use the final angle of attack for the main wing in all subsequent RC models. The model may (time permitting) get a coat of primer prior to AirVenture, but not likely before first flight. We need some days to edit the video and put together the clip for display at AirVenture. We will have a display of the model, flight videos, and X-Plane set up for those who want to try flying the Switchblade on their own.
Further pics will come as we get them. Much happening on the finance end as well, with AirVenture specials being announced there.
Friday, June 15th, 2012
The second 1/4 scale prototype is being madly worked upon to finish and fly prior to AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Pro-builder, Joe Marine, of Race Pro Engineering in California, is seen giving one of the molds a work-over to get it into shape. The molds needed tremendous work to get them ready to pull the high-quality parts that would be suitable for a flying prototype.
We received new molds for the wings and tail. The wing mold was finished by the mold maker, Sierra Technical Services, out of Mohave, California. The tail was shipped without finishing, as we had more help at the model maker’s shop and could do the job more quickly. The molds are nicely done, and are ready for waxing. The tail molds are carved foam ready for a hard-coat of resin.
Although we are putting in long hours, the morale is high and we are having fun. That is the way it should be!
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
We have made great progress with the 1/4 scale radio control prototype, and hope to fly within 30 days. Bill Bohn in Tahoe has finished the tail assembly, and is working on the wings. The fuselage (body) should be fairly straight-forward, as it is built around the existing wood structure already assembled.
There will be a Progress Page done shortly with images, so look for that soon. We are currently working to locate a wind tunnel large enough to accomodate the prototype so that we can do a few tests before the big day! We have one in mind, but if you know of one 6′ wide or wider, please let us know so that we can choose the best facility for our purposes.
We have made trips to Wisconsin, Nevada, and Southern California recently to introduce the business to like-minded people. This has led to alliances that we anticipate will make the introduction and distribution of the Switchblade, as well as our future vehicles, that much more successful. We have also added new staff to handle our Dealership Program, which is being formed at this time.
A mold production facility has been located, and we are negotiating on several options to have molds made for the prototype(s). We would like to have two or three prototypes made for use in demonstrating the vehicle around the world, as we have enthusiastic followers from over twenty different countries. We have interest from the movie and television world, and this would allow us to provide a unit for their use.
We recently generated two different special editions to accomodate the extreme conditions found in both cold climates and hot, dry climates. These are being added to the new web site, which is nearly ‘live’. When the web site is active, please check theVehicles Section down at the bottom of the page for the specifics on those two vehicles. We will be adding an option for a Short Take-Off and Landing wing (STOL) that will decease maximum speed, but also decrease take-off distance and landing distances. Here is a preview of the “Aurora” (cold climate model):
People often ask us how they can help. Simply passing along our newest YouTube video link and web address to your friends and asking them to check it out is of great assistance. This particular video is a 5 minute long presentation of the concept and why it is important, including quotes regarding the state of personal transportation from Bill Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Company. The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwStvxO0z38&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
As always, the staff at Samson are looking forward with anticipation toward first flight, as I am sure many of you are. This will be a big year for the Switchblade, and should bring the realization of our dream into reality. It is your dream, too, so wish us luck!
Thursday, August 25th, 2011
We realized recently that we are under-utilizing a vast resource. You! After the last eNewsletter and the earlier progress report talking about engine testing, we received quite a few leads on new engine developments to consider as we move forward with the program. Thank you to all who contributed!
This led to the conclusion that many of you have been following our progress, wish us success, and are willing to do something about it. Okay, then, let’s take this a step further. We would like to get a new ‘game’ going with the people following our progress. We can’t pay you each a salary, but another option is to let it be known what we feel you could do that would be helpful, and reward that production with prizes as compensation. The prizes include money, discounts, special editions of kits, custom interiors, and much more. Here is how you can help:
Refer someone for a Switchblade Deposit and receive a sales commission as a Field Promoter. You would work with one of our sales staff, who would be the one to service the person and make sure their purchase experience is the best we can make it. A Field Promoter simply introduces people to the Switchblade and gets them to contact us regarding a Deposit toward future purchase. To claim your reward, you must let Samson know before your person contacts us. Send an email email@example.com or phone (530) 878-4808. The reward can be taken one of two ways:
1. As the new Depositor completes the paperwork and does his Deposit, you can be rewarded with 50% of all sales commissions from that sale with no further work needed.
2. Alternatively, instead of taking a cash commission, you can be credited on your Switchblade kit with double the cash commission you would have received. Thirteen deposits submitted and your credit account would exceed $60,000.
Place a Deposit in the next two weeksand receive 5% off the kit price. This does not apply to engine or avionics, but the kit itself. This will help boost Deposit numbers and show investors the depth of our business market. Since this has a time limit for the discount, Field Promoters can use this to help convince Depositors that now is the time to come on board. If you are a current Depositor, you will automatically be credited with 5% off for being an early bird. This discount will be valid until the end of September 9, 2011.
Fully pay for your Switchblade in advance. Depositors who pre-pay for their Switchblade kit during the next 30 days will get the price fixed at $60,000 regardless of final price (or 10% off the kit price if the final price is lower than $60,000), and you will receive a special Founder commemorative interiors package. This collector’s item will be designed by our staff designer, who was the chief designer for Nissan/Australia and is a highly talented individual. All who pre-pay will be able to vote for their favorite interior design, and the winning design will be offered to all pre-paid Switchblades. Depending on how many people participate in this, there may be a choice of two or more designs that will be offered to those who pre-pay. This offer will be valid until the end of September 25, 2011.
Refer someone as an investor and receive a finder’s fee. We have been busy lining up the needed funds for first flight and beyond, and are ready for the sprint to the finish line. We are in discussion with several who would like to fund us, but waiting to see which one funds is never successful. Through experience, we know that now is the time do DOUBLE the amount of people we talk to. So, if any of you have friends, family, or associates who might just be interested in helping the next evolution in transportation get into production, now would be a good time to let them know about us. Even if they have looked at it before, we have a greatly improved business plan including an impressive executive team. To make it easy, I have attached a summary of the opportunity so you can easily pass this along to your prospects. Samson will present a full business plan to each investor who expresses an interest.
According to Security & Exchange Commission rules, we cannot publicly announce our funding opportunity. The same would apply to you. No one can post it for public view on boards, broad emails to strangers, etc. Again, please call or email in advance so we know where it came from, and can then provide the Finder’s Fee.
Our minimum investment is $30,000 USD. The Finder’s Fee can be taken one of two ways:
1. As a thank you for referring to us someone who invests, we can give a cash Finder’s Fee of 5% of the investment received. As an example, for an investment received of $100,000 you would be given a cash thank you of $5,000. For an investment of $1,000,000 you would receive $50,000.
2. If you would rather take a percentage off your Switchblade kit, you can put down a deposit, and take double whatever the Finder’s fee would have been in cash, as a credit towards your Switchblade kit final price. As an example, if you bring one person at $100,000, you would receive a $10,000 credit towards your final kit price.
This game runs until we have finished our full funding ($7M), which could be very soon. We will, of course, keep you informed.
The bottom line is that we are ready to fly, and we want to line up the finances so we don’t get knocked off our ‘stride’ getting the business up and running. You can help, if you feel comfortable doing so, by introducing us to potential investors. Even if they don’t invest, just the action of talking to many people is what it takes to successfully raise money. Did you know that Walt Disney was told ‘no’ by 302 bankers before he was able to find funding for his first Disney theme park? The person who invented copiers went through the same process, with many hundreds of rejections before one said ‘yes’, and the copier then became the indispensable business tool it is today.
Let me know who you’ve got and how it is going. The more communication the better. We have a really big target ($7M for Switchblade full program or $1.5M for flying prototype). We are hoping to finish this off in the next month and then we will have a firm timeline to first flight. The Samson home team and I are glad for anything you can do to help make this happen.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
We have located a potential for the constant speed 7-blade hub, which is a unit that was designed by Aero Composites Inc. for the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) ducted fan aircraft that NASA and DARPA teamed up to fund and assist in development. The hub was ground tested with a 300 hp loading, so we can safely assume that our 200 hp will be adequately contained. Talks have begun with Aero to incorporate the hub into the Switchblade design. Having a seven blade hub is seen as important for acoustic reasons as well as to handle the prop loading.
With an odd number of blades rotating past the vertical closure of the body within the duct, there will be less peak noise generated (one blade at a time passing by the disturbance created by the vertical body feature). This has been validated in more than one American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) paper over the years. The PAV testing also confirmed a low acoustic signature with this arrangement.
Having this hub has the potential to reduce the time it would have taken to develop our own prop hub. We had previously decided to use a fixed pitch hub to do the prototype and initial kits with, then add in an upgrade to a constant speed prop as we could afford to develop it. The constant speed prop should enable us to gain approximately 14 kts in top speed, and possibly more as we approach 200 mph. No guarantees yet on that, but we have set our sights on flying faster than 160 mph.
Best, Sam Bousfield
CEO Samson Aircraft, Inc.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
We were invited to South Africa to meet investors there, and found not only a larger market than anticipated, but interest from government agencies and large business people there to set up a second manufacturing facility to support that area of the globe. You may not be aware, but there is quite a large traffic problem between the major cities surrounding Johannesburg, which plagues business leaders, in addition to the average person. This affects over 10 million people of the region.
Farmers in South Africa often have more than one holding, and these are quite large. To be able to fly from one to the other, and view the scene from the air is quite a problem solver as well.
While not a technical advancement, this was welcome improvement in our business plan. Additionally, there is no 51% rule in South Africa (technically there can be completed Experimental aircraft for sale there, and possibly exported from there in some cases). We are still doing due diligence and marketing work to determine the scope of things, but it looks good so far!
We also found new materials in use in the SA mining industry, which is a technical leader in the global mining community. Plastics have been used to replace steel (even stainless) with greater strength and longevity in rigorous conditions and use. These materials from the chemical giant Sasol in South Africa are being reviewed for possible inclusion in the Switchblade. We are prototyping with aluminum for the swing-wing hinge assembly, and would use that unless we tested with other materials and found that longevity and strength could be improved. I can hear the engineers shivering in their boots, but if it is stronger, lighter, and less expensive, we should take a look. Remember that old saying, “the future is plastics”?
We wore our Samson shirts wherever we went, and that included being kissed by an elephant during an off-day (national elections close down many businesses and government offices for nearly a week). We were featured in a 6 minute interview on RSG radio, and found that our Facebook hits increased 300%, and our website spiked. Lots of interest generated by such a small exposure in SA. What will happen when we fly and are all over the news?
Another highlight was speaking to an auditorium of 250 school children about our project. Not only were they enthusiastic (looks well for the future of flying cars), but many had been sketching on their own. I was introduced to one who was especially proud of his drawings, and I encouraged him to follow his dreams. “A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists”, L. Ron Hubbard.
Best, Sam Bousfield
CEO Samson Aircraft, Inc.