SAM’S VIEW – June 12, 2018
Having the completed tail brought to the Samson hangar from Composite Approach was a happy moment for Sam Bousfield, Switchblade creator (above). While the wing swing was perhaps our biggest project milestone, the tail completed and working is arguably the biggest technical milestone. The tail is full of engineering challenges solved, technology applied, and ingenuity tested. The results speak for themselves.
The tail was placed on the tail boom in the Samson hangar, and with the help of the Samson team, prepped, checked, installed, and tested. Below, Ron Burch (left) and Dana Beebe are setting up for the first swinging of the tail. As you may have seen in the engineering animation, the tail swings from the stowed condition shown below, upwards into the flight condition where it is locked in place. This was to protect the tail in driving mode, as any flying surface that can be easily damaged while on the ground is a liability for the usefulness of the vehicle. It was an early decision of the Switchblade design that all flying surfaces be protected in ground mode.
When the tail attachment was completed, and the tail swung upwards for the first time, we stopped to take measure of what we had just accomplished. This was a true moment in our company’s history, and we feel in yours as well. The tail swung so effortlessly that when it was allowed to swing down again, it just wanted to rock back and forth endlessly, like the workings of a Swiss-made watch. Once the actuators are installed, there will not be this swinging action, but it was an impressive indicator of the perfectly balanced construction.
Many thanks to all who contributed to such a great outcome: Composite Approach, Composites Universal Group, eCNC, Risse Racing, Aloha Machine, Desert Machine, Les Schwab, TRAW Machine, Phoenix Composites, and many more contributed their excellence and efforts to help produce an extraordinary achievement. Below stand most of the hangar group, from left to right Dana Beebe, David Nobles, Sam Bousfield, and Ron Burch.