Above is an image showing the major portions of the body plug that is now under construction. A plug is a positive full-size shape of a part, in this case the body. Plugs are used to make molds from, then the parts from the mold, once assembled, will assume the shape of the plug. This plug will have three parts, one for the nose, one for the main cabin, and one for the rear of the vehicle. Composites Universal Group out of Scappoose, Oregon, near Portland is handling the rear of the vehicle. That is the more complex shaped portion, and their 5-axis computer controlled milling machine is to be used for best effect there.
One thing we revised regarding the body shape was to provide a place for the windshield wipers to ‘hide’ while flying, as their automotive parts were not made for 200 mph speeds. The notch in the body shown in the image below at the bottom of the front windshield will allow the wipers to lay in an area somewhat protected from the wind, and still be useful on the ground as they were intended.
While the body is being carved (images to come), the wings are being prepared for final bonding in a large metal jig or fixture that will hold all in place. The fixture is being precisely made, as the angles and positions of the metal pieces at the body end, or root end, of the wing are the most critical features of the wing assembly. To ensure we were ready for this, we clamped the major pieces together and measured the resulting locations of holes and components that were of a critical nature, as shown below.
In addition, we connected the ailerons and flaps, and operated them throughout their range of motion. It looked like the work we had done so far, without the aid of a complex fixture, has been accurate. I feel Ron Burch, our lead builder, should be complimented for his efforts to ensure the partially assembled wing was so close to design specification. Below is shown the flap at full extension at the root end and at the wing tip end. The gaps are nice and tight when closed, and the flap is in correct position when fully opened.
While it was all in one piece, we took one last image, below, of the wing before it is bonded together for the last time.
We were visited in our Prineville hangar by national and state level Elks Lodge executives who had expressed interest in flying and in our vehicle. We gave a few of them a briefing on our progress and intentions, as well as a short flight in our company plane to become acquainted with the view one might enjoy in a future Switchblade flight.
For those who might be interested, Samson is hosting an Air Fair at the Prineville, Oregon, airport on October 3rd and 4th. This is aimed mostly at people who had started to learn to fly or who had earned their ‘wings’, but are not currently flying. We have arranged, with much help from regional talent, to provide free of charge, AOPA’s Rusty Pilot Program the morning of the 3rd, and at a 50% discount ($50 per), Amelia Colvin’s exceptional Weather class the afternoon of the 3rd . The morning of the 4th will see a new free program from AOPA for non-pilots who want to gain the knowledge and experience that will enable them to feel more comfortable flying with their pilot friends or spouses. This will include getting up close and personal with different aircraft, answering questions, and gaining knowledge about how aircraft and air traffic control operate. More information is available from AOPA at www.rustypilot.org, on our web site – www.samsonsky.com – as well as Delia Colvin’s web site – www.fly-rite.com. If you wish to come, please register with Delia for her Weather program, AOPA for Rusty Pilot, and with Samson for the No Pilot to Co-Pilot program on the 4th.