TALE OF THE TAIL – January 5, 2019
We swung the tail under power for the first time, rotating the verticals and extending and retracting the horizontals in that ballet motion predicted by the engineering animation video released earlier. Besides the wing, this is the most critical part of the Switchblade, and it performed just the way it was designed! Kudos to the engineering and build team for their work to help pull off an extraordinary working assembly.
The Switchblade tail is an extremely complicated mechanism. Most aircraft tails are simply empty tubes or shapes with minimal moving parts. The Switchblade tail has over 30 internal parts, including locking mechanisms, hinges, actuators (moves things), and more. While more complicated than we would like, it is the simplest creation we could design that enabled a tail to operate in undisturbed air above the vehicle, and yet be retracted and protected while in ground mode. The image above, and the video below, show how the tail looks and operates.
The image above shows Switchblade designer, Sam Bousfield (left) and Ryan Neil Dillon, the electronics engineer who is the brainchild behind the ‘motion’, standing by the folded up tail just after it was run for the first time. Here is a link to the TV news story covering the release of the Switchblade’s transforming tail. It is one of our best TV segments ever! Link: https://www.samsonsky.com/samson-sky-unveils-transforming-tail/