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Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson
Machine Information
Created by

RDA

Used by

Humans

Usage

To reach remote work sites and transport troops to and from the battlefield

Armament
Size

15.9 meters long, 14.99 wide

Speed

Max. 144 Knots

Behind the scenes
First appearance

Avatar

The Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson is a human rotorwing general utility aircraft designed to carry out mostly non-combat missions, although still decently armed with door machineguns and detachable rocket pods for self-defense. It is the workhorse of RDA operations on Pandora, used to transport cargo and personnel to and from isolated sites. A hook point for slingloading operations allows the Samson to carry extra or oversized cargo externally.

History[]

Samson 16 landing at Site 26 in the Hallelujah Mountains

The Samson has been in use on Earth for decades. Its various trial runs in Antarctica, the Himalayas and Honduras proved the aircraft could fly well in thin or thick atmospheres or in extreme temperatures with minimal maintenance. When the RDA needed a reliable and sturdy aerial workhorse, they naturally chose the field-tested Samson and hardened its electrical systems to prepare it for the rigors of Pandora.

The rear cargo doors are normally left open for flight operations on Pandora, resulting in the need for exopacks for any occupants in the cargo area. The cockpit is separately pressurized at +0.3 psi, to prevent leak-back of toxic methane gases and the flight crew can operate without exopacks even with the rest of the aircraft depressurized. In the event of an uncontrollable influx of toxic air, there are emergency breathing masks (BIBS) plumbed to each of the four cabin seats.

Weaponry[]

As a utility craft, the Samson's primary defense is its speed and maneuverability. The armaments usually seen on the SA-2 are a pair of door-mounted MBS-9M Hydras, or M60 Machine Guns (which are also capable of being fixed forward to be remotely operated by the pilot), and missile pods on pylons immediately aft of the cockpit. An alternate configuration is one Hydra on the left pedestal and a .30 Caliber Machine Gun on the right pedestal.

Propulsion system[]

Samson safety procedures

The Samson is propelled by a transverse pair of ducted fan tiltrotor nacelles, each with a pair of counter-rotating coaxial rotors, increasing the lift efficiency while granting excellent reliability. Both tiltrotors are capable of leaning backwards and forwards independently. Left and right movement is possible by changing the rotary speed of either one of the nacelles; the Samson moves forward by tilting its fans horizontally. The V-tail design also helps reduce drag and maximizes fuel efficiency. As a result, the Samson is incredibly maneuverable.

Notable Samsons[]

Trivia[]

  • James Cameron's influence for the Samson came from Russian "Hind D" heavy gunships that he used on the set of Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1983.[1]
  • In real life, Aérospatiale was a French aeronautics company that was split apart and merged into various other companies between 1992 and 2000. The helicopter part combined with DASA to create Eurocopter.
  • The SA-2 features a fuselage that is reminiscent of those made by Eurocopter and Aérospatiale, including the EC-135 and EC-145.
  • Ducted fan VTOL aircraft have been flown since at least the 1960s. A notable example was the Bell X-22, a quad-ducted fan experimental aircraft built for the US military. It has no relation to the later V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. Though successful, no military aircraft since have used that technology.
  • The Samson fills the real-world military role of a medium, multi-role utility helicopter such as the UH-1 "Huey" and Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk, or a heavily-armed transport-gunship hybrid like the Mil Mi-24 "Hind".
  • There are several parallels to UH-1 "Huey", the most famous Vietnam-era helicopter, in the SA-2 Samson. Notably, there are skids rather than wheels of the UH-60, M60 machine guns guns are mounted in the doors rather than a dedicated window, reminiscent of those carried as door guns on those helicopters, and the silhouettes with the folded bipod at the muzzle of the gun are similar. Another visual cue is the ability to mount two MBS-9M Hydras in a fixed, forward-firing position on stub arms near the cargo doors to act as a gunship, something the UH-1 could do as well. The rotor sounds are similar to a four-bladed helicopter like the Blackhawk, as opposed to the distinctive sound of a two-bladed helicopter like the UH-1.

Sources[]

References[]

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