$170,000 flying car finally takes off

Samson Sky

The Samson Sky Switchblade, a three-wheeled, road-legal flying machine has made its maiden flight. The Switchblade ascended to 500 feet above Grant County Airport in Washington and was airborne for around six minutes before landing safely.

“The Switchblade handled great, I’m excited to be the first to fly it away from the ground,” said brave test pilot Robert Moehle.

It’s taken 14 years to get this flying car off the ground but this is a major step towards Switchblades being seen on the roads and in the skies all over the world. Powered by a three-cylinder 190-hp hybrid engine, the Switchblade has a claimed maximum airspeed of 200 mph and can fly as high as 13,000 feet, or zip along at up to 125 mph on the ground. Its range is reckoned to be 450 miles.

The transition from airplane to automobile takes around three minutes as the wings fold back beneath the bodywork and the tail retracts so that it can be driven on the road and parked back in your garage. As it’s a trike you can drive it on a car license or, in some states, even just a motorcycle license. You’ll also need a private pilots’ license to take to the air, of course.

On top of that you will need to be handy with a wrench as the Switchblade sits in the Experimental/Homebuilt category, which means the owner has to assemble 51 percent of the vehicle. Samson Sky says the easiest way will be to attend one of its Builder Assist Centers where its experts will help you put the kit together in a week.

Switchblade prices start at $170,000, rising to $770,000 for the luxurious Limited which comes with upmarket materials and head-up displays. The company has reportedly received more than 2300 reservations from all 50 U.S. states and a further 57 countries.

“After 14 years of design and rigorous testing, our first flight is a huge milestone,” declared Sam Bousfield, Samson Sky CEO. “This puts us on the path towards producing thousands of Switchblades to meet the large and enthusiastic demand we’re receiving.”

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    Half a$$ air planes make half a$$ car. Visa versa too.

    This is a dream of two worlds that just never meet as the requirements are so much different for each and the cost prohibitive.

    But that may be a good thing as people can’t manage roundabouts so how will they ever fly or is it more they should never fly.

    This is something I would not really invest in.

    Quite a few pieces of missing info there, such as –
    – what propels it as a car, that propeller? If so, what impact does that have on following traffic?
    – if it’s driven by the prop on land, how does one back up?
    – I don’t see any rearview mirrors, isn’t that just a tad bit dangerous (or maybe not, if you can’t back it up)?
    – what would it be licensed as, an “N” number or a vehicle registration/plates? Or both?
    – and, most importantly, does the FAA allow you to put fuzzy dice in the windshield?

    The future unfolds and it’s great…Orville and Wilber are shaking hands with Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler! Someday these will be ubiquitous. Sorry I won’t be around to see it, but glad to have lasted long enough to watch this! Lot’s of problems to resolve as noted by my friends above, but these should be small in comparison!

    Don’t expect to see many of these flying machines in the air over your house anytime soon. Aviation is heavily regulated and the standards are very high. Not just any joker with huge wads of cash will be able to buy one and take-off from his backfield. He will have to satisfy all FAA requirements for licensing, performance standards, maintenance, inspections, communication and tracking equipment and endless other things you have not yet thought of. A guy can’t just jump into an car/aircraft and take to the sky.

    Ok, let’s see the performance specs for the aircraft part of this. A top speed of 200 MPH? that’s 165Kts… It takes a real aircraft to go that fast, perhaps a Mooney 201, a well designed, retractable gear aircraft with an excellent reputation for reliability and performance, which uses time proven, 200 HP Lycomming aircraft engine to go that fast, has 4 seats and is certified in the “normal” category. I can’t see an aircraft compromised to be a car as well, going that fast on an unproven, experimental “hybrid” 3 cylinder power plant.
    I am both an automotive journalist and an aviation journalist, multiple aircraft owner, with thousands of hours of flight time. I have flown many prototypes and tracked he progress of aircraft that were “destined” for production. Mostly, none of them make it (even the best designs), burning up their original investments early on, as they are plagued by the numerous problems involved in producing a proper aircraft, or a useful car. This one doubles the problems in that it is trying to be both. Performance specs are often just optimistic projections of fantasy. 200 mph is silly, if not impossible, given the type of power plant proposed, and the current design, which has not been tested for more than a few hours. I can see how the manufacturer wants to skirt the certification procedures for production aircraft by making it a “homebuilt”, but one problem will always remain. Is this practical? Where does one park the wings and tail? What are the real maintenance requirements for both the flight power plant and the road drive train? What will the instrument package look like, and will it be useful for IFR flight?
    For what this will really cost (probably 2X the currently stated price, one can buy a real aircraft with instrument flight capability and a safer performance envelope.

    I mean, can’t I already buy a chair with a fan and parachute attached that fits in my car? $170,000 saved and I have a better car. I am joking. Sort of. Kinda want to try the parachute chair things

    “Samson Flying Sports Car”. Flying? Looks like it, based on the short test flight shown.
    Sports car? By what standard in what alternate universe? I commend their efforts but I hope it’s not like the Amphicar (a lousy car and a lousy boat- just a lot of giggles).

    Guess the market will decide on this venture. Looked to me like the “beam” to the tail section was wobbling a lot during the flight? Didn’t look too stable. IDK

    A prototype aircraft flew – so what? I don’t see any ‘car’ characteristics – didn’t see it drive on the road(s), fold the wings, put the tail away, or even power itself without that big blower out back doing the work (?). The doors didn’t even open – they had to remove them, for the pilot to exit the aircraft, and the wings look like they’re sealed and held-on with tape (?)..

    I can’t imagine driving that thing on the road with a tiny nose wheel. 125mph? really?
    Are the rear wheels driven?

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