February 8, 2014

The Suzuki Hayabusa engine in our ground prototype is running! It took a lot of dedicated work by our build team, but the motor started up and sang a very pretty note after over a year of not being run. The wiring was quite a hang-up for quite a few days, but we went back to basics and re-did the wiring from scratch and got the product. A big snow storm rolled through here, but we are too anxious to wait, so we will begin testing as soon as we can. I will have to bundle up, being the test driver, as the temperature is in the low teens.

We have been making progress on the molds, and the structural team headed by Alexander Bondar is providing the data to proceed on that front as well. A local source for high-quality carbon fiber cloth has been found to speed up our progress, and we are grateful for that. We are looking forward to finishing the ailerons and then flaps for both wings as a first step. Composite Approach of Bend, Oregon, is making both the molds and the parts for the flying prototype, which will be assembled by our pro-build team in the Prineville hangar.

The snow will provide a good test ground for the Garnetread tires. We will test without the Garnetread, and then with Garnetread on the front tire only, then with all tires, and see what the difference is in snow conditions. Due to the weather, this is not the best time for high-speed testing, but we will still put the vehicle through its paces and see how the new suspension feels. The new suspension is the torsion bar type that was reported on earlier, and we will finally find out if it works as claimed (not needing a shock absorber). Once we have finished testing in the initial configuration, we will add an anti-sway bar and test with that. We found earlier that the addition of an anti-sway bar helped tremendously in cornering.

Our new steering and front suspension is also going to be examined. We are mounting GoPro cameras on the vehicle to be able to view the suspension and steering in action. This data will be added to the field notes of our test drivers to gather sufficient information to make the determination on suitability for our use.

The Motus V-4 engine is now being crated for shipping to our engine consultant. The consultant will be adding the turbo-charger, intercooler (to cool the air down after being compressed by the turbo-charger), and a custom computerized engine management system to the base Motus engine. After initial testing, the Motus will be torn down and examined for wear, then re-built with dual ignition sources, dual fuel pumps, and dual engine management so that the redundancy required of airborne vehicles is provided. We will follow this with extensive ground testing of all drive train components and propeller to make sure we have a winning combination for our customers.

The Samson Team is beginning to get their rhythm on this phase of the project, and everyone seems upbeat and anxious for more. I know I am excited and looking forward to the next challenge.


Sam Bousfield
The Samson Team

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