Okay, we are sorry for the delay in getting a newsletter out. We have been concentrating on finance issues, and the potentials kept getting bigger and more involved. We are working on three finance packages that will enable us to finish development of the Switchblade as well as the rotary engine program. There is also interest in our ground program, which offers a sports car-like vehicle getting Prius mileage.
So what can we say? Well, if you want a Switchblade any time soon, now would be a good time to put down a deposit and secure your place in line. We have some large International deposits en-route which will consume the entire first year’s production of the Switchblade. Not a bad problem for a business to have.
Our flying has continued on X-plane, and we have another movie posted on YouTube. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN4swAWvdRc. This marks the second installment of 101 Things To Do With A Switchblade, and we are preparing a third. If you have a correct trim setting, flying the Switchblade is a piece of cake. CFI (certified flight instructor) and Samson Spokesman,Don Campbell, has been working crosswind landings and take-offs. These were the potential problem areas we thought we would need to address due to the low wing. So far, take-offs and landings have been done with a 20 kt side component without trouble. One ‘bonus’ we found comes from our wheel location. As long as you are flying less than 90 mph, when the rear wheels touch down, you are landed and driving. This means you can come in hot, touch down cleanly without having to be at or near stall, and be down. This helps with crosswinds, as forward speed reduces the effects of side wind components. We are sure we will hit a limit, and though X-plane is an engineering based flight simulator that does seem to fly like the real thing, these are only simulations. At best, it may prepare us for first flight and following test flights.
We are also on the front cover of Popular Mechanics for January’s edition, due out in a couple of weeks. It is a feature story, and we are hoping you like it. The images are a bit dated, as we have changed the front suspension of the vehicle. We didn’t have the new model to photograph, and of course we have many more deposits since the story was written, but the story should be a good one. The photographer is exceptionally talented, so we can’t wait to see the issue.
After breaking 100 mph on the ground, we turned to our less-than exciting slalom results and found our testing was not standard. For our test, we set up cones 45 feet apart. Later, we found that Road and Track set their cones at 100 feet. No wonder our results compared so poorly! So now we will be going out to the Sacramento Raceway and performing another timed ¼ mile and a slalom test using the more standard cone configuration that will allow us to compare our results to other vehicles. After beating the Jaguar V8, we would like to know how the Switchblade will fare with other exotics.
On another engineering note, the new front end is performing extraordinarily well. We are seeing much better control authority and rigidity. It is a bit heavier than we wanted, though we are using standard square tubing for prototype use. When we get things dialed in the way we want, we will turn the engineers loose on the setup to take the weight out.
With as much interest as we are seeing in the Switchblade, we expect to be able to provide our own castings for many components, like a regular production vehicle. I know we have been taking longer than expected to develop the vehicle, and finance had a lot to do with this, but the upside is it has given us the time to ramp up our sales ahead of production. We are using that time to push development further than if we were stepping out into uncharted territory. We know we have the sales volume to warrant the development that will make this a truly captivating vehicle. If you like what you see and hear, please pass it along. I think your friends will be amazed.
The Samson Team