FUELING THE PASSION OF A FLYING DRIVING VEHICLE – April 21, 2019
And probably the most fun of all to see, the two aluminum fuel tanks were installed, along with the fuel filter and connecting tubing. The image above shows the pilot side after installation, and the co-pilot side is almost a mirror image. The pilot side has the addition of the filler tube at the top.
The Switchblade has 2 fuel tanks – one on each side – with a center feed and a place for fueling up on the rear quarter panel. Many aircraft have 2 tanks and you have to switch tanks during a flight and keep track of the fuel level in each tank.
Since the Switchblade uses automobile gasoline, we wanted to make it easy to drive up to the pumps and fill the tanks, like a car or motorcycle. In an aircraft, you typically store the fuel in the wings, and that makes sense if all you do is fly. If you also drive, however, it is darn inconvenient to have to swing your wings out at a gas pump to fill the tanks! We opted for fuel tank locations that were close to the center of gravity, but were accessible with the wings swung closed, as that is what the vehicle would be like when the fuel tanks were filled.
The tank shown below and above are positioned and ready for fastening. This location is just outside the ducted fan section in an area that was a void (nothing in it), so perfect for this type of use. It is also outside the cabin/body area, so not such a hazard as tanks inside the body. There are carbon fiber skins that will cover up the fuel tanks on the outside, fully enclosing the area.
We are using welded aluminum tanks for the prototype, but the production Switchblades will use a compressible plastic tank that will provide much more fuel storage, and still maintain the ability to be crushed without spilling fuel in most accidents. Samson works hard to provide as much safety as possible in our vehicles, even though it is impossible to make something accident-free. We are doing our part to make your travels safe and enjoyable.