Samson Switchblade foldable flying car made its first flight

Isbel Lázaro.

coche volador

Inspenet, November 23, 2023.

One year after receiving FAA approval for flight and 14 years after its initial announcement, the Samson Sky Switchblade made its inaugural flight at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. This three-wheeled vehicle, suitable for legal circulation on the streets, transforms into an aircraft capable of reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h with the push of a button.

During the test, it reached an altitude of 150 m and completed several loops before landing approximately six minutes later.

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

Samson reports that it has received around 2,300 reservations for the Switchblade from 57 different countries, with an estimated starting price of $170,000 .

Notably, the Samson Switchblade will be marketed as a home-built experimental aircraft, meaning that more than half of the assembly must be done by the owner. However, Samson says it will offer a Builder Assistance Center, where owners can complete assembly in a week with the proper tools and on-site supervision.

More details about the Samson Switchblade flying car

This two-seater vehicle can reach speeds of over 200 km/h in land mode, with the wings and tail folded. In flight mode, it can reach up to 322 km/h and 400 m altitude. Its hybrid power system runs on regular 91 octane gasoline and provides a range of up to 805 km with a 125 L fuel tank.

As for the transition of the vehicle from ground mode to air mode, it will not be especially quick, as it is estimated that the tail will take around three minutes to extend and deploy, while the wings will come out from under the chassis and be fixed in place on that time. However, this process will be automatic, although Samson has not yet provided a video of a prototype making this transition.

An important point is that the Switchblade will require a minimum of 335 meters of clear runway to take off. Additionally, you will not be allowed to perform this action on the street, so users will have to plan their multimodal trips to and from airports or find alternative solutions. Despite these limitations, the vehicle offers the convenience of being able to park in a conventional garage rather than requiring space in a hangar, making it an outstanding choice for commuting.

The exact date for commercial availability has not yet been announced; Samson has indicated that it will use data collected during flight testing to finalize production engineering and build several prototypes. Production, as is known, presents its own challenges, so Samson faces a challenging road ahead.

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