Meet The Samson Switchblade: The First Flying Car For The US Market
Samson Sky has developed this FAA-approved three-wheel flying sports car, which you drive to an airfield, deploy the wheels and take off.
Have you ever dreamed of flying cars? Hold on tight because the Jetsons era is right around the corner. Samson Sky started developing a prototype of a flying car 14 years ago, and they are now accepting down payments to preorder its ultimate model. It’s no secret that many companies are attempting to launch flying cars. Volkswagen, for example, is developing the Flying Tiger, an electric passenger drone prototype. Similar efforts are being made by other carmakers, such as Rolls-Royce and Hyundai, but still none of them seem to be accomplishing the task.
The Samson Switchblade, a swift three-wheeler that can instantly transform into an airplane, has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for airworthiness and is now starting the final stage of flying tests. Once they complete the last phase successfully, Samson Sky will start with this model distribution. Will this car meet the technical needs to conquer both the streets and the skies? How will they regulate air traffic once users start flying in it? Let’s find out the answers to these questions and more about this fascinating project that seems like science fiction.
The Switchblade Is The First Commercial Flying Car
We’ve seen many idealizations of flying vehicles featured in futuristic movies and series, believing that having your own flying car in real life was a vague idea for another time. Well, that’s not the case anymore. Samson Sky has sparked the public’s curiosity when they revealed that the Switchblade, the flying vehicle they had been developing for more than a decade, would soon be available for purchase.
The company, that specializes in domestic flying vehicles, said at the end of July that the model had passed the FAA inspection. With this institutional approval, the only challenge left to achieve are the flying tests, and once they complete them successfully, they will be able to start with the model’s commercialization.
There are actually other flying vehicles out there in the market, such as the Jetson One, from the Swedish company Jetson, but if all goes as planned, the Switchblade would be the first flying vehicle in the American market. Sam Bousfield, Samson Sky Founder and CEO, was an architect before setting out on the journey of flying cars. He explains how his training enabled him to dare to try his luck in the still mostly uncharted area of flying automobiles by saying, “An architect is half engineer and half artist, and this is a fantastic combination to make an innovative approach when thinking about the design of a flying car.”
According to SamsonSky.com, “The Switchblade is a three-wheel, street legal vehicle that you drive from your garage to a nearby local airport. Once there, the wings swing out and the tail extends in under three minutes. You then fly your registered aircraft directly to the destination. You simply land, transform your flying sports car back to driving mode, the wings safely stowed and protected, and continue to your final destination.”
They named the Switchblade after the resemblance of its wings to the Swiss Army Knife, which deploy to take off or fold to ride just by pressing a button even while the car is running. This machine has a special system which blocks the dashboard in case the user presses the switch button accidentally during the flight. The craft’s technical specifications state that it could go at a top flying speed of 200 miles per hour and an altitude of about 16,500 feet, or almost 20,000 meters below, where most commercial airplanes fly. Although we know little about the actual specs of this vehicle, the company states the flying car will feature a Samson 190 hp liquid-cooled three-cylinder engine using Skybrid technologies.
Cost Of This Flying Machine
The first flying automobile will start at $170,000. Those interested in purchasing the Switchblade can already sign up for a waiting list. Once the automobile makes its formal debut, there will be a 45-day period for clients to pay a US$2,000 deposit to close the deal. Although Samson claims that they already received almost 2,000 reservations, and that expectations are really promising, there are some doubts regarding several topics including flying regulations users will need to stick to, or take off – landing stations for such private flying machines. Some journalists are making serious reflections about the topic and in an article published in September of this year, Jeff Zurschmeide, raised some questions around the capability of American drivers: “simply consider the skill level of the average American driver, and the maintenance status of the average American car, and then ask yourself if you’re really OK with them flying over your house.”
Airspace management projects already exist, however little is available to the public. So, even though the Switchblade is the first flying car about to enter the market, it’s still unclear when and how these vehicles will become a common element of daily transportation.
Despite the uncertainties, the fact that the dream of a flying car is about to come true is not something minor, and perhaps it is the gateway to a new world of vehicles expanding the universe of cars that excites gearheads so much.
JUAN IGNACIO BAUDINO