Posts Tagged ‘Sam Bousfield’
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.
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 )
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, July 19th, 2010
Our progress pages show much of our latest work, though not all. What we are finding with the ground vehicle is that the cornering is surprisingly good. We have not yet accomplished all of the testing necessary to really spot the limits of the vehicle, but what we have completed indicates a ground vehicle with smooth ride characteristics, agile cornering, and adequate steering. We are looking to push the vehicle to the limits, and have the tire grip be the limiting factor rather than tip-over during extreme maneuvers. This may sound like I am trying to scare you away, but in reality any new vehicle under development is going to be tested to its limits, if not to destruction, so that it can then be tweaked and made safer for everyday use. The Switchblade is no different in this regard.
In addition to the ground test vehicle, the X-plane model is almost ready for prime time. Work has progressed to include windows, doors, and as close to our actual panel as we can get at the moment. I think you will be pleased with the result.
Another item is the new 3D views of the vehicle soon to grace our updated website. A small shot included here shows the door handles and gas fill cap. Adding these touches and aspects to the design makes the visual presentation much more like the real thing.
A highlight with the ground test vehicle was when we unveiled it for the first time at the Golden West Regional Air Show in Marysville, CA. Journalist, Sharon Weinberger, was there from Washington D.C. to do a story on us for Popular Mechanics. We had been working daily until after midnight for over a week and completed the vehicle at 2:30am the day of the event. When Sharon got in for a ride, she was surprised to find out this was the maiden voyage. All went well and she complimented us on the ride qualities. Several forums were given, which were well attended. People definitely took notice when we started the engine (a Suzuki Hayabusa), as it sounds like a race car. One thing we had to mention repeatedly was that this is just a test vehicle for ground handling, suspension, steering, and drive-train. It is not intended to fly, as it is of heavy steel-tube frame construction (the flying vehicle being made of carbon fiber). Check in a week or so for a link to a YouTube video of the vehicle being tested on the website.
We are currently meeting with investors interested in combining the Freedom rotary engine with the Switchblade project to make a larger and more viable business entity. As we are planning on producing three-wheeled ground vehicles and later certified flight vehicles, this paves the way for the future of Samson and makes our company a more attractive investment. The rotary engine rights would be purchased by Samson, and the manufacturing brought in-house, similar to Ford and other large auto makers. This would give us a certified aviation engine not only for our use, but for sale to others interested in a future of General Aviation – one that includes surviving and prospering in the face of a vanishing leaded fuel supply. We would produce engines for a variety of non-aviation uses, and the capability of burning any fuel (including diesel, Jet-A, kerosene, alcohol, gasoline, hydrogen or synthetic fuels) has obvious advantages.
One thing we need to mention is that we are concentrating on our goal of first flight this year, and are not taking time out to produce a booth for AirVenture as we have done the last two years. It was a hard decision, but we feel we need to pursue first flight as our top goal, and are pressed for time as it is. We remain in strong support of AirVenture, the EAA, and Young Eagles. The CEO, Sam Bousfield, will be at AirVenture Tuesday and Wednesday, and giving a Forum on Tuesday, July 27th at 4pm in Pavilion 08. Don Campbell, VP Public Relations, will be at AirVenture on Thursday and Friday. If you wish to meet with either person, please send in a request via the website information request line, and give your name, days you will be there, and the contact info that will allow us to communicate with you during the event. Our cell phone will be given in return so we can connect and have a chance to talk.
Here’s to a brighter future!
Friday, December 11th, 2009
The march of progress continues, and we have more pictures available, now that the cfd (computational fluid dynamics) is far enough along to establish the new fuselage shape as being adequate for our use. As mentioned earlier, we have opted for a larger main wing and have removed the canard. The tail feature remains relatively unchanged, as directional stability and control authority seemed adequate without modification of the tail. We hope you like the new fuselage shape – it seems even more sculptural and eye-catching.
We have begun construction of the ground test mules that will be used to test and validate the drive train and suspension. This will continue through December and into January, upon which time we should be able to add a propeller and hub assembly for ground testing of the complete drive train. The design of the propeller is to be done following the completion of the final fuselage/ducted fan design being accomplished over the next few weeks.
We are setting up a progress page on the website to show pictures, and to document the evolution of the construction process. There is quite a bit that we want to work out in the physical world, especially related to the ground handling of the vehicle. While we can show much of what we are doing, some things that may be future patents we won’t be able to share. We know you understand, and we will describe our progress as best we can even if we can’t show all of it. There should be occasional video footage (especially some hot cornering), and we will post choice pieces on YouTube so you can pass it around. The current animation is already on YouTube under Switchblade. Feel free to email that link to your friends!
In the meantime, enjoy these 3D shots of the preliminary new fuselage shape, and look for the progress page on the website coming shortly!
Happy Holidays from Samson Motors Inc
Saturday, October 24th, 2009
We will be putting out a press release shortly, but wanted to keep you up on advancements. As mentioned previously, we had received interim funding and have been progressing at a rapid pace through the very exciting time of finalizing the design of the Switchblade. One of our top targets was the reduction of stall speed. While many options were reviewed, increasing the size of the main wing was deemed the most feasible, and we have widened the chord and found a new hinge point that gave us a bit more wing span.
When all things were considered in this change, it became apparent that we were at a crossroads concerning feasibility on the use of a canard. A canard can be useful when you want to increase the lift of all wings, as seen in the very successful Piaggio Avanti. A canard has several plus points, and several minus points. The chief minus point is that anything ahead of the cg acts to destabilize an aircraft. That includes propeller forces, front wheels, canards and other forward features. DAR Corp ran several studies to determine the relative merits in stability and performance with and without the canard. At the end of the day, it became obvious that the canard was truly an option rather than a necessity with the larger wing. We chose not to include it, although we had grown used to its looks. The chief reasons we removed the canard included less build time, simplicity of design and systems, reducing the potential for wing damage while on the ground, and lower cost. For this we gave up the softer stall characteristics of a canard aircraft.
The rear ducted fan area is being re-designed to enlarge the inlets and reduce the effects of duct drag. The new design is looking even more sculpted than before, so we hope you are fine on people ogling you as you drive by. We don’t think a Lamborghini will give more double takes than the Switchblade will.
The stall speed has been reduced from 61 mph to 57 mph, and it is possible that it could be slowed even more. We have found another engine that we feel could be suitable and the horsepower is augmented by a supercharger, so power is maintained at altitude. Attached is a power/airspeed graph which shows the relative sea level air speeds according to the power settings, up to the maximum of 260 hp for this engine. For those who want to burn more fuel and go faster, 80% cruise will get you over the 200 mph mark. For those wanting a more economical engine, the rotary engine based upon the Freedom engine has been funded and is entering production. This promises to be a very simple, lightweight solution for the certified aircraft engine market. We are looking forward to receiving beta test engines in the summer of 2010.
We attended the EAA Young Eagles event thanking Harrison Ford for his work, and introducing Jeff and Sulley as Ford’s replacements. It was quite an event, and we met with the three of them individually to start the foundation of our future support of the Young Eagles. A photo of Harrison Ford with Sam and Martha Bousfield, of Samson Motors, is included in this newsletter.
In case you missed it, there was a short but enthusiastic article in the November issue of Flying Adventures magazine. We were gratified that they felt it was newsworthy for their readers, as we are still some time before first flight. We have more big news, but we are still dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, so we will save it for next time. Coming soon will be wind tunnel testing (after we finish with the ducted fan), and further adventures in simplifying construction techniques and materials to make the kit an easy one to complete. Having the FAA finish their review of the 51% rule gives us a green light for putting together the most complete kit possible under the rules. We hope you will be one of our lucky builders!
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
We are making great progress in product development, which we were able to share with the thousands of people who visited us at AirVenture 2009 in OshKosh, Wisconsin. For those of you who were part of the crowds, we thank you! We made several announcements at AirVenture, most notably that we had passed several engineering milestones and that we were now taking refundable deposits to allow interested purchasers to secure early delivery positions.
The list of depositors is growing, but our main emphasis remains on making good on the ‘dream’. We have received intermediate funding, and we are currently negotiating full funding with several sources. We are continuing with our product development at a rapid pace, with DAR Corp continuing to improve the aerodynamics and performance of the vehicle. Samson’s CEO, Sam Bousfield, just returned from meeting with Willem Anematt and his crew of engineers at DAR Corp in Lawrence, Kansas. The meeting was very successful, with discussion leading to several potential improvements – most notably in increasing wing size to reduce landing speeds.
We decided to retain Fowler flaps, already included in the design parameters, despite several other options. We did discuss including the recently developed top-wing air dams. These show promise, but they have not yet been flown. We may test them on a prototype, but for now, Fowler flaps are being used for final design.
We are re-designing the ducted fan inlet. As mentioned to you at the show, this is a priority for our product development team. We also feel we can improve the functionality of the rear of the vehicle. Many people like the looks of the existing vehicle, and we will work to retain the overall flavor of the design while making improvements in aerodynamics, function, and ease of maintenance.
We will be putting out another survey soon, and your help with this is always appreciated. We would like your feedback on several items. One thing we will never tire of is hearing from those who are interested in the project. If we are a bit slow in responding to your communication, it is only because of an overload of emails. When we receive 200 emails after a news article is published or a news segment airs, it takes time to get them all answered.
The answers to some questions may be of general interest, so I will mention them here. We are often asked ‘how much?’ We still have a TARGET price of only $60,000 (without engine or avionics). We plan to have available an X-Plane model to fly in the computer.
More news is coming, and you will be the first to hear! Thank you for keeping track of us with the newsletter. It is the easiest way for us to communicate the status of the project, and to give you updates as they occur.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
WELCOME FROM AIR VENTURE 2009!!
It’s been very exciting week for the Samson Motors team at AirVenture. Setting up our tent (tent 22, across from AOPA) and showing the engineering mockup to the many visitors who have come by to see us has been extremely enjoyable for us.
For those of you who are not able to join us in Wisconsin, we have a special announcement… we are now accepting deposits for delivery positions for the Samson Switchblade MMV at AirVenture and delivery slot #1 has been taken!
We appreciate the patience and support of all our mailing list subscribers, and we are going to treat mailed in kit deposits the same as those we receive at AirVenture. Mail in depositers will receive the next available delivery slot, based on the time stamp when you notify us by email (email@example.com) that you have accepted the deposit agreement and submitted your escrow protected, refundable check and signed deposit agreement by mail. (see attached deposit agreement here)
First flight is expected approximately this time next year, with first kit deliveries one year after first flight. We look forward to seeing your Samson Switchblade flying!
Samson Motors Team