LEFT AND RIGHT – July 14, 2022


A pilot uses rudder pedals to move the tail rudder (or in our case rudders), left and right. This points the nose left or right, and is used to keep the aircraft tracking correctly in turns, among other things. The pedal in the middle is the brake pedal, which is used in driving and in flying mode. This is our installation for rudder pedals for Switchblade flight testing. Production Switchblades will be different in the way the steering and rudders are to be operated. We years ago thought that we could land the aircraft with the ailerons and the steering linked, both operated by the control wheel. While we were able to handle up to 15-knot crosswinds with this setup in X-plane flight simulation, ground handling seemed like it might not be as easy as we thought.

So we changed the setup for production Switchblades to have the nose wheel be connected to the control wheel for driving mode, but disconnected in flight mode. The steering would be connected to the rudder pedals during flight mode, like normal aircraft might have. This decouples the steering and ailerons, allowing a more typical flight operation during crosswind landings.

Braking was another issue, as we had to have a central brake pedal for driving mode. With fly-by-wire rudder pedals, the right pedal could work as the gas pedal in driving mode. We have a proprietary braking system that is part of the SkyBrid hybrid electric system that we will roll out in production, and for flying mode, it should provide you with safety well beyond what has been available up to now.

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