Posts Tagged ‘flying cars’
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.
Friday, March 25th, 2011
We are burning the midnight oil here, getting the needed funding in place to launch on construction of our flying prototype. I am working intensively on some exciting collaborative efforts for Switchblade engines and alternate fuel technology. At this stage this is all proprietary, but suffice it to say that these technologies will make our vehicles even more efficient and cost effective and will have applications far beyond that.
Unfortunately, with our team tied up with these critical projects, we cannot spare the personnel to attend Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland, Florida, as we had planned. This is a great event and we are disappointed to miss it. We will just have to make up for it next year. If you are at Sun ‘N Fun and anyone asks where the heck we are, please tell them briefly what we are doing and refer them to our new YouTube movies and website for an update on the Switchblade.
I hope you enjoyed our recent 60 second mini-movies, “Fast Lane” and “Mission Possible”. Here are the links:
Would you please share these with your friends, family and associates? They can see the other YouTube videos we’ve done which are listed to the right of the screen. If you want to show someone the January Popular Mechanics article where the Switchblade is featured in the cover story, just send them to our website www.samsonsky.com Our earlier website address will still get you there as well www.samsonmotorworks.com
Thanks for your continued interest and support!
Monday, March 7th, 2011
Samson Motors eNewsletter 3-7-2011
Sam was recently honored to be one of only six “National Design Leaders” chosen to speak at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Minnesota’s Annual Lake Superior Design Retreat. This event took place on February 25th through the 26th and was attended by more than 120 architects and non-architects.
As many of you may not know, Sam earned a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1979. Post-graduate studies included marketing and business management. Due to an interest in aviation, Sam became involved with a core group of Boeing engineers who utilized Sam’s conceptual ideas to advance aeronautical research. This relationship developed into several international scientific papers presented to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and with the Swedish government utilizing one of Sam’s designs to re-calibrate their wind tunnel through Mach 1.
We are happy to share with you our two new YouTube videos that were a real hit at the event!
Take a look and share them with your friends.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IASW8zMIxw (mission possible)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6LegQTpXtk (fast lane )
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
We have been getting a lot of international attention lately including being featured as a cover story in the January issue of Popular Mechanics. As we count-down to our first flight this year, we are presenting the Switchblade in Seattle, WA this weekend as our first stop in a nation-wide tour.
Sam Bousfield, inventor of the Switchblade flying car, will be holding an Open House and presentation of the vehicle. A scale model, along with audio visual presentations of the project, will be available for viewing.
- Saturday, February 19th from 1-8pm (Open House venue) or
- Sunday, February 20th from 3-5pm (Reception – RSVP needed)
- “The Landing” at 5001 25th Ave NE, #200 in Seattle, WA
We request an RSVP as space is limited and it is an invitation-only event. Please call (206) 518-2205 or 530-320-9088 to reserve your seat.
Monday, January 3rd, 2011
The New Year is upon us, and it will be a good one for Samson. We have first flight to look forward to, an exclusive deal with American Express for deluxe versions of the Switchblade, several large bulk purchases from Asia, and increasing support and purchases from the US.
Being on the front cover of Popular Mechanics was a nice way to start the year, even though there were some incorrect statements made. Magazines and newspapers seem to thrive on controversy, and when the author of X-plane was approached, he handed out pronouncements regarding our flight capabilities without actually flying our X-plane model painstakingly built for us by Shade Tree, a reputable X-plane modeling company. Those who have flown our model (still free to download from our website – Store Page), report much the same as we found, that the Switchblade flies very well once you get over the urge to rotate on take-off. The plane takes off without rotating, like a B-52, which Austin Meyers didn’t understand until I went over it with him after seeing his comments in the article.
We are flying even more adventurous routes on X-plane, and have our third movie posted on Youtube. This one takes off from Maui, does a landing and take-off from an aircraft carrier, an aileron roll less than 30’ off the water, and then continues to land at Hawaii. This is island hopping at its best. See the movie at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC43mF3d4e0&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL. This marks the third installment of 101 Things To Do With A Switchblade, and we are preparing a contest for others to enter and have their work published (as well as earn prizes). Download your version of our updated Switchblade and start looking for your claim to fame! In the X-plane Universe, the FAA doesn’t ground you for flying through the Golden Gate Bridge above traffic (we’ve done it). It is a great way to have fun, and the program only costs $29 but needs a newer computer with advanced graphics board to handle the images.
The ground test vehicle is being repainted awaiting the new engine installation. We are going to test an engine with the cvt (continuously variable transmission) drive to the wheels including reverse gear. New aluminum skins and a lexan windshield now grace the front of the vehicle to allow winter testing, including snow handling. We are testing a rotary engine with a hydrogen boost system, and are looking forward to finalizing the funding for both engine and vehicle programs in the coming weeks. It became a bigger issue to handle funding both the vehicle and the engine, but in the end it will be worthwhile as we can direct the engine program to include a certified version in later years for our future certified vehicles. I believe you will enjoy the long-lasting, low-cost single lever control rotary engine, and it promises to be a light-weight powerplant for many aircraft.
Have a Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
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
Monday, November 8th, 2010
Samson Motors eNewsletter 11-4-2010
Our new front end is taking shape, and we are working out the steering for the torsion bar set-up. Cornering looks to be greatly improved, as is suspension and ride quality, but the steering needs some work. We recently had a meeting with Dennis Manning, whose team set the world record for gasoline powered motorcycles at 367mph, only to have it broken just this month. They are dedicated to owning that record, and we are learning some tricks for going fast. Now that we have broken 100mph, we are wondering how fast we can go. Even though we know we will never come close to the motorcycle world record, by racing and pushing the vehicle to the limits, we improve things for everyday operation.
We have been mostly concentrating on growth issues and planning the space for the different businesses involved. It is apparent that we will have some serious production demand, so we have gone from ‘what can we get by with’ and are into ‘how fast can we expand’. The computer simulation flights continue, and call for a steeper and shorter descent on final than most will be used to, but the balance of flight seems very conventional and fun. Take-off is best accomplished with 10 degrees of flaps and a bit of trim, and it just floats up off the runway. After you fly it for a while, you get the trim settings down and flying becomes easy. We have posted a video of one of our flights, which I think you will enjoy watching, and would like to open up a contest soon for others to contribute in the same manner. The contest will be 101 things you can do with a Switchblade, and #83 can be found at:
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Here are links to our to latest YouTube videos. These are short videos with commentaries giving an explanation of what we’re doing in these test drives.
Although the test program can become repetitive and somewhat boring to watch, we felt that these videos contain both historic and entertainment value.
Burnout Switchblade \”flying car\” test vehicle with Suzuki Hayabusa Engine
Switchblade \”flying car\” test vehicle with Suzuki Hayabusa Engine
Have fun watching!
The Samson Team
Sunday, September 5th, 2010
Our X-plane (beta version) is still available for a free download, but as we advance the model, it may disappear from the ‘free’zone (so get it while you can). Most of the aerodynamic engineering predictions on flight characteristics that came from DAR Corp match what we found in X-plane, and that is another validation of the design. Stall speed, stability, cruise speed, and trim changes all were in line with predictions, even though X-plane bases flight on the physical parameters of the plane and not through derived parameters (ie, you can’t tell it to stall at a certain speed – it stalls when the wing runs out of lift, just like it would in real life).
One thing we are not happy with is that when we drive it off the airport, the program automatically tells the vehicle it is ‘in the rough’. That has meant that even while on roads, the vehicle is bouncing like it is on a grass field. Understandable in a sense, as this is a Flight Simulator, not a race car program, but still not what we wanted to have happen. We are trying several ways to handle this, and if nothing else, will establish some scenery upgrades for download that you will be able to drive around on after landing.
Flight characteristics of the model are still fairly good, though it does exhibit more power related trim adjustment than we would like. One reason may be the way we modeled the ducted fan outlet. In the real vehicle, there is a lip projecting outward from the lower portion of the duct, which serves both as bumper on the ground, and to provide an unbalanced ducted fan outlet to counter the power related trim. With power on, the prop will tend to push the nose over. With the lower lip in place, we expected to counteract that by the prop wash acting on the lower lip aft of the propeller.
The X-plane model, however, has a straight duct end, and doesn’t get that benefit. What you ‘see’ in X-plane shows the vehicle like we designed it, but that is only graphics. The computer model is invisible beneath the graphics ‘skin’, and has a straight duct end. We will work to change that in the future, and if it makes a difference, we will let you know. Landings are just like we predicted, with the nose coming down smartly and the vehicle ‘driving’ from then on. I like this, as there isn’t the in-between flying and driving period of typical aircraft – it is either one or the other. Please let us know your experience with the vehicle by posting to the Contact page. You can be our unofficial test pilots.
The ground testing continues, but is nearly done. We will post a Youtube video showing the test vehicle driving by at something like 40 mph, and then flooring it and burning the tires as it accelerates away. We did this once already, and it is impressive! The vehicle is stable and fun to drive up to 74mph (fastest we have tested so far). The current rear springs are being replaced with compound springs to soften the ride but still provide stiffness for landings. We went from almost Cadillac softness to Rocket Sled! Somewhere in between the two lies the sweet spot we want. Regardless, you are going to really enjoy the ground ride on this vehicle. Porsche will have nothing on us!
One thing we did which was very successful was to change out the chain drive to belt drive. What a difference! Now we can really ‘get on’ the engine, and apply almost full power (full power spins the wheels almost every time). The whole drive system feels completely solid and quiet. We are very impressed with it, and will continue to try to break something to spot where the weakness lies. So far, no breakage, just exhilaration and acceleration.
Our last suspension system to test will be a torsion bar system, front and rear. This will handle the front end much more easily than other methods, but we have to keep the weight reasonable. We can do it the way we have been so far with motorcycle suspension, but if we can keep the weight of the torsion bar system in check and still provide a robust suspension with this, it would be easier to install and maintain.
We have some exciting news coming up. Negotiations are underway in a couple of key areas that will benefit the project and our overall business footing as well. I hope our next newsletter will be able to share some of the things we have been working on for many long hours to bring into being.
Happy Labor Day
To you and yours
The Samson Team