SWITCHBLADE RUNNING UNDER PROPELLER POWER – November 30, 2019
We assembled the rest of the rear duct so the vehicle would be aerodynamic and continued with ground testing using the propeller for power. This had its own series of tests including bump tests to make sure that the duct was holding up to different movements of the vehicle body while still maintaining its shape. See image above of the prepping for this event.
When we ran the Switchblade using the prop, we found one condition that altered the shape of the duct enough to warrant investigation and a handling, but all in all, it performed well. We will be continuing the testing soon as the Central Oregon area had a snowstorm that has shut us in the building for several days. So far we have had the vehicle up to 33 mph using the prop on a short straightaway.
Speeding up using only the propeller is nowhere near the exhilaration of wheel-powered acceleration, but that was expected. The propeller was designed for top speed, not 0-60 mph times. We are planning to use wheel power to attain take-off speed more quickly and take off with the propeller after those speeds are reached. The test pilot requested to use only the prop for first flight testing and will accept the slower acceleration as a result.
All of this aside, it is incredibly cool to see the vehicle move with the propeller and experience the power of the vehicle in motion. We think ‘awesome’ just about sums it up! We were fighting to get in as much engine tuning with propeller power as we could before the snow hit, so we did not get the vehicle moving at a high speed yet. Here is a short video of one of the runs.