The era of the “Jetsons” will have finally arrived.
“The world wants a flying car, and we are going to give it to them.” This bold claim was made by Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson Sky and designer of the Switchblade, “the world’s first Flying Sports Car,” according to the company.
Samson Sky’s engineers have just completed production of the Switchblade’s tail assembly, one of the major milestones in the vehicle’s development. “While the swinging wing is probably the heart of the Switchblade, the retractable tail is by far the most technically challenging aspect to the project,” said Bousfield. The vehicle’s tail retracts and folds into a space behind the rear-mounted propeller for driving on the road. The wings also fold into the body like the blade of a penknife—inspiring the vehicle’s Switchblade name.
The three-wheeled vehicle, which is classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is powered by a turbocharged, lightweight 190-horsepower liquid-cooled V4 that is capable of going from zero to 60mph in 6.5 seconds. On the ground, the Switchblade would hit a top speed of 125mph or more—while in the air, it would cruise at 160mph with a top speed of up to 190mph. The vehicle is expected to have a flying range of about 450 miles.
The Switchblade transforms from a ground car to a plane in under three minutes, and owners would require both a driver’s and a pilot’s license to operate it. The vehicle will feature a five-speed gearbox for driving, as well as three foot pedals: the middle pedal will act as the brake, while the right pedal will act as the accelerator when the vehicle travels on the road, and the left and right pedals will both serve as rudder controls when the vehicle travels in the air.
Samson Sky is counting on increased global demand for flying cars to sustain its production. The company boasts that it has pre-flight owners and reservation holders from across the U.S. as well as 17 countries around the world—and that multiple new reservations are being made each week. Other companies are working on their own flying cars: Uber recently showcased its flying car prototype and last year Airbus unveiled its own flying vehicle.
The Switchblade is being displayed at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2018 in July.
Written by: Matthew Greenwood
Originally posted on Engineering.com website on July 18, 2018