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Samson Motors, Inc. releases improved flying motorcycle design

Samson Motors SkyBike flying motorcycle was a hit at AirVenture 2008, and the collaboration between Samson and Swift Engineering in January of this year has generated a new design that many are now finding even more attractive than the earlier, telescoping wing design.

Describing the changes, Bousfield beamed, "our vehicle dropped 200 lb of weight, increased range, and decreased required maintenance. What is wrong with that?" "It was the survey results from our thousands-strong e-newsletter crowd that convinced me", says Bousfield, "The survey indicated a preference for side-by-side seating, the new wing design, and the longer range that went with it." The telescoping wing was a feature that allowed the SkyBIke to retract the main wing almost completely within the vehicle body while driving on the ground.

Samson will not drop development of the telescoping wing, but the new wing design has a shorter and more certain path to production. "It is easier to implement flaps, traditional ailerons, and typical light-weight construction techniques with the new wing design," said Bousfield. The new vehicle, named the Switchblade, uses a scissors wing that hinges near the rear wheels and swings closed within the belly of the plane for storage. A center keel provides structure for the passenger compartment, and extends below the wings to provide impact protection. Clamshell doors under the vehicle protect the wing from road grunge and stones thrown by the front wheel.

The new vehicle has a considerably different look than the original design. Being rather frank, Bousfield said, "Well, the original SkyBike design was so sexy, the new one looked more like a mini-van by comparison. After the survey, we knew we had to re-work things on styling so we took clues from Ferrari and Mazeratti, integrating structural elements within the flowing lines of the vehicle".

"The hardest thing to get used to is that it looks like there isn't enough wing", Says Bousfield. "In a three-surface design, like the Piaggio Avanti, it always looks like there is a big body and tiny wings." "Samson went to this layout for just that reason - less wing needed. With all three wings providing lift, we have smaller wings and less drag. Even still, the wing span is a respectable 23'." The tail telescopes backwards for flight, and remains tucked in tight to the body during ground use.

"Now that Terrafugia has flown, it is no longer a question of 'can it be done', it is 'how good can it be done', and that is the challenge for the Switchblade," said Bousfield. So where does this put the vehicle as far as development is concerned? "We took a couple of steps backward to go to the Switchblade design, but much of what we have been learning over the last two years is allowing us to make that time up. We still look forward to kit delivery in 2010", said Bousfield, adding "and I want my Switchblade in Ferrari red."

Samson will unveil a scale proof of concept model of the "Switchblade" at outdoor booth N78, at Sun-n-Fun 2009.

Press release issued by Samson Motorworks on April 15, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
Swift Engineering, Inc. Prototyping, Engineering Design Services
Samson Motorworks Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
Samson Switchblade

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