Fly fly fly, Delilah: Samson’s flying car is ready for take-off
A street-legal, three-wheeled vehicle that turns into a 200-mph airplane at the push of a button has been approved for airworthiness by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
14 years in the making, the Samson Switchblade – named after the knife-like way its wings spin out from beneath its two-seat cabin – is now preparing for flight tests.
The ‘trike’ also swings out its tail at a switch of a button in its three-minute long transformation from trike to aircraft, although a full physical demonstration is pending.
With advantages including the ability to skip traffic, toll bridges, or the opportunity for businesses to take clients on private excursions, the Switchblade also uses electricity for driving, taking-off, landing, and hovering (which classifies it as an eVTOL)
The hybrid vehicle will otherwise use normal petrol to power its journeys.
As a three-wheeler, it is recognised as a motorcycle in many areas, and can reach speeds of up to 125 mph (201 km/h).
In the air, the Switchblade’s cruise speed is 160 mph (257 km/h), which allows it to travel up to 450 miles (724 km) on a full 125-litre tank of fuel.
The driver, or pilot, will need a 1,100-foot runway for take-off, and a 700-foot runway landing, and can fit in any regular garage once it is in trike mode.
The eVTOL has an estimated starting price of $150,000, and has already taken 1,670 reservations according to a recent interview with The Hill.
Samson will also sell the Switchblade as a kit aircraft, which means buyers can build the aircraft at home.
It’s also preparing a “Build Assist Centre” where owners can visit to work with Samson’s “pro build team” to get their aircraft finished. Once it’s built, the FAA will once again inspect the aircraft and if it passes, then the DMV will be able to offer a license plate for street use.
The company is also planning to release a fully certified Switchblade, which would enable owners to carry paying passengers in it.
Flying cars is seen as one of the key technologies in reducing traffic congestion, although legislation around them needs to be fleshed out before they go to market. Last month, TechInformed spoke with Future Mobility Ireland CEO Russell Vickers about flying taxis and Ireland’s first Vertiport. Check out the video HERE.
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