Samson Sky Switchblade flying car soars high with its inaugural flight

The world of personal transportation is set to change dramatically with the introduction of the Samson Sky Switchblade, a unique three-wheeler that doubles as a high-speed airplane. After 14 years of meticulous development and rigorous testing, the Switchblade has finally taken to the skies, marking a significant milestone in aviation and automotive engineering.

The Switchblade’s maiden flight at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, was a testament to the resilience and innovation of the Samson Sky team. The vehicle reached an altitude of 500 feet (150 meters) during a six-minute flight, successfully demonstrating its capabilities as a roadable aircraft.

Sam Bousfield, the CEO of Samson Sky and the designer of the Switchblade, expressed his enthusiasm and optimism for the future: “After 14 years of design and rigorous testing, our first flight is a huge milestone,” he stated. “This puts us on the path towards producing thousands of Switchblades to meet the large and enthusiastic demand we’re receiving.”

Samson Switchblade Flying Car Street Mode
The Switchblade in its compact street mode. Images courtesy Samson Sky

This innovative vehicle, which seamlessly transitions from a street-legal three-wheeler to a 200-mph (320-km/h) airplane at the touch of a button, has garnered significant attention globally. With over 2,300 reservations from 57 different countries, the Switchblade’s estimated starting price is set at US$170,000. This figure not only underlines the widespread interest in such technology but also indicates the potential market for roadable aircraft.

The Switchblade’s unique three-wheel design allows it to be classified as a motorcycle in many jurisdictions, simplifying the process of street accreditation. As an experimental/homebuilt aircraft, owners will need to construct over half of the vehicle themselves. However, Samson Sky plans to facilitate this process with a Builder Assist Center, equipped with necessary tools and supervision, allowing construction to be completed within a week.

The Samson Sky Switchblade transitions from car to plane in just three minutes.

On the road, the Switchblade can achieve speeds over 125 mph (200 km/h), with its wings and tail neatly tucked away. In its flight mode, it reaches speeds up to 200 mph (322 km/h) and an altitude of 13,000 feet (400 meters). Powered by a hybrid system using regular 91-octane pump gas, it offers a range of up to 500 miles (805 km) from a full 36-gallon (135 L) fuel tank.

Transitioning from car to plane is not instantaneous, taking approximately three minutes for the tail to extend and the wings to swing out and lock into place. While Samson has yet to demonstrate this process in a live prototype, they have provided renders and descriptions of the underlying mechanism.

Unlike VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) flying cars, the Switchblade requires a minimum of 1,100 feet (335 meters) of clear runway for takeoff, necessitating access to an airport for flight mode operation. This limitation means that the Switchblade is not just a flying car but an airplane that can be conveniently stored in a standard garage, bypassing the need for expensive hangar space.

Samson Switchblade Flying Car Wings Folded
The tail section folds at the back, while the wings scissor in to stow under the cabin.

As for production timelines, Samson Sky has not provided a definitive date, stating that the data from this flight test will be utilized to finalize production engineering and build several production prototypes. The road to mass production remains challenging, but the success of the Switchblade’s first flight is a promising step forward.

Source: Samson Sky

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