|Artist's concept of the Samson Switchblade|
|Role||Amateur-built roadable aircraft|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||14 July 2012 (1/4 scale model)|
|Introduction||2009 as a mock-up|
|Status||Under development (2012)|
|Number built||None (scale models only built)|
US$95,000 (projected kit price, 2014)
The Samson Switchblade is an American amateur-built roadable aircraft, under development by Samson Motorworks of Meadow Vista, California. It was publicly introduced at AirVenture in 2009 in mock-up form. The aircraft is intended to be supplied as a kit for amateur construction initially and possibly as a complete ready-to-fly-aircraft in the future.
The design effort is being lead by Samson CEO Sam Bousfield, assisted by aeronautical design firm DAR Corp of Lawrence, Kansas. First flight of the full-sized aircraft was originally forecast in 2009 for 2010, but by July 2012 only a 1/4 scale model had been flown. In February of 2014 the design had passed through the final round of wind tunnel testing, and in March of 2014 the first carbon fiber parts were made for the conforming flying prototype.
Design and development
The Switchblade will be a three-wheeled motorcycle type vehicle with forward retracting wings. It features two-seats-in-side-by-side configuration in an enclosed cockpit with space for 50 lb (23 kg) of baggage, fixed tricycle landing gear and a single engine in pusher configuration as a ducted fan for flight that will also drive the rear wheels on the ground. Early designs included a canard surface.
The aircraft is made from composites and its fuselage shape was inspired by Ferrari automotive designs. Its 26.9 ft (8.2 m) span wing has an area of 67 sq ft (6.2 m2) and fits slotted flaps. For ground use the wings fold forward under the aircraft's belly into a clamshell case that protects them from road debris. There is an impact absorbing steel structural keel. Due to differing angle of incidence requirements and the large rear road wheels, the nose will be raised 4° for take-off, eliminating the need to rotate the vehicle in aircraft mode. Standard engines available will be a 160 hp (119 kW) or 190 hp (142 kW) Motus Motorcycles powerplant and the 170 hp (127 kW) Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle engine.
Initial production is focusing on development of a kit version for amateur construction, with factory builder assistance if desired. The company has indicated that a ready-to-fly light-sport aircraft model or a type certified model may be developed in the future.
Specifications (projected performance)
- Crew: one
- Capacity: one passenger
- Length: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m) in ground mode, 20.2 ft (6.2 m) in air mode
- Wingspan: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
- Height: 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m)
- Wing area: 67 sq ft (6.2 m2)
- Gross weight: 1,550 lb (703 kg)
- Fuel capacity: 16 U.S. gallons (61 L; 13 imp gal)
- Powerplant: 1 × Suzuki Hayabusa four cylinder, liquid and air-cooled, four stroke aircraft engine, 170 hp (130 kW)
- Maximum speed: 200 mph (322 km/h; 174 kn) in the air, 100 mph (161 km/h) on the ground
- Cruise speed: 160 mph (139 kn; 257 km/h) in the air
- Stall speed: 67 mph (58 kn; 108 km/h)
- Range: 345 mi; 556 km (300 nmi)
- Wing loading: 23 lb/sq ft (110 kg/m2)
- 7″ Dynon Skyview
- 10″ Dynon Skyview
- Garmin AERA 550
- Garmin GMA 340
- Garmin SL30
- Garmin GTX 330.
- Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 118. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
- Grady, Mary (25 April 2009). ""Flying Motorcycle" Prototype Coming Soon, Company Says". AVweb. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Samson Motorworks (14 July 2012). "Switchblade Update". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Switchblade Update".
- Samson Motorworks (2012). "Switchblade". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Samson Motorworks (2012). "Switchblade - Point-to-Point Transportation". Retrieved 15 October 2012.