Encyclopedia Britannica – Britannica School

Aug 30, 2022

A New Flying Car Takes Flight

A car called the Switchblade can drive or fly!

This art shows what the Samson Sky Switchblade would look like while flying.

Copyright 2022, Samson Sky

If you’re going to have a vehicle, why not get one that can drive and fly? That’s just what the Switchblade flying car does—and it could be available soon.

A company called Samson Sky has been working on the Switchblade for 14 years. The vehicle has already been tested on the road. In July 2022, the Switchblade got a boost from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is the government agency that makes rules for aircraft. The FAA approved the Switchblade for flight. Samson Sky is now doing flight tests and says the vehicle could be available to buy within weeks.

When it’s on the road, the Switchblade looks like a very unusual car. It has three wheels, a large windshield, and a sleek, sloping hood. There’s enough room inside for two people. When the driver decides to fly, the vehicle easily changes into a plane. With the push of a button, wings and a tail come out!

To take flight, the Switchblade requires a runway, which means the driver needs to take it to airport. In the air, it can reach speeds of 160 miles per hour (257.5 kilometers per hour) and climb to 16,000 feet (4,876.8 meters). That’s much lower than a commercial plane, which flies at about 35,000 feet (10,668 meters).

Several other flying cars are also being developed by other companies. These companies will also need government approval before they can sell their vehicles.

People who want to buy and operate Samson Sky’s Switchblade will need a few things first. For one, they’ll need about $170,000. That’s how much the vehicle is set to cost. They will also need a driver’s license and a license to fly private planes.

Check out the video, which shows how the Switchblade spreads its wings.

Watch the Britannica Education video on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/742738417?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=16765782

Just as you need a license to drive a car, you need a license to fly a plane. There are different kinds of pilot’s licenses. To fly Samson’s Sky Switchblade, you need a private pilot’s license. To get a license, you must:

 

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Go to “ground school,” where you learn about things like the weather and how planes fly
  • Go to “flight school” where you are taught how to fly a plane
  • Pass a flying test to show an expert that you can fly safely

The Swimming Car

The sQuba goes for a swim.

© Rinspeed

Is there anything more awesome than a flying car? How about a car that can swim? 

In 2008, a company called Rinspeed introduced the sQuba. The sQuba, which looked like a sports car, could drive on the road like any other automobile. But it also had paddles and propellers that allowed it to travel underwater, like a fish. The car even came with masks and oxygen tanks to allow its driver and passengers to breathe.

No one ever bought the sQuba. In fact, Rinspeed made only one. It turned out that the sQuba was very expensive to make, and not many people would want a swimming car. But it was a cool idea!

Watch the Britannica Education video on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/743222123?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=16765782
https://news.eb.com/level1/a-new-flying-car-takes-flight/

Switchblade, Samson Sky, Skybrid, and Skybrid Technology are trademarks or registered marks, and are used with permission on these pages.

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