FIRST IMPRESSION DRIVING THE SWITCHBLADE – November 13, 2019
There is only one way to say it – this thing really moves! Acceleration with the wheels is very exciting! We are optimistic that our zero to sixty mph time should easily be at or under six seconds, which was our target. Road handling was stiffer than desired, so we have a bit of tweaking to do with the shock absorbers, and that work is ongoing. This will not hold up our flight test but will be needed before we freeze the drivetrain for production.
Shifting is smooth and will improve even more with the final version of the transmission and clutch. We are testing and improving as we go along. The engine seems to come more alive as the rpm’s climb. Most likely this is due to the turbo kicking in as engine speed increases. After some re-work on the steering connectors, the steering felt precise and taught, which you would expect from a rack and pinion system.
We did not do any hard panic stops, but the brakes were very adequate to handle stops from high speed (the maximum speed attained so far was 67 mph). If anything, we may have more brake than is needed for the weight of the vehicle. The Switchblade does not have anti-lock brakes (ABS), but under hard braking, there was no tendency for the rear brakes to lock up prior to the front brakes. Sam Bousfield and the driving team do not think you will be disappointed with the vehicle’s handling! The image above shows Sam Bousfield (standing) and Sean Bliss in the driver’s seat, taking a break from the action.
In the short video below, Sam Bousfield is taking the Switchblade prototype out, having to be a bit cautious around other aircraft as he leaves. Once he hits open space, he lets the engine wind up to speed. Make sure you watch to the end so you can hear how pretty it sounds!