Will your first or perhaps your next sports car be capable of flying? If you are looking for a cool factor, the Samson Sky Switchblade Flying Car is certainly worth checking out. Completing its first flight on Nov. 9, 2023, after 14 years of design and rigorous testing, the flight test data will enable the Samson team to finalize production engineering and build several production prototypes.
If you are interested, you need to pony up $500 to get on the list. Samson already has over 2,300 reservations from 57 countries and all 50 states in the U.S. Estimated pricing starts at $170,000 but includes more than just the vehicle introduction/ instructions an owner would normally get from the salesperson when their new car is delivered.
Federally classified as a motorcycle, the Samson Sky Switchblade can both drive on roads and use runways to take off and land. Its wings fold out from storage underneath the body. With an estimated 1,850 lb. maximum gross take-off weight (MGTOW), a Samson 190 hp powers the intercity roadable aircraft, liquid cooled V4 engine. For flight, its propeller configuration is a single rear ducted fan. The internal combustion engine powers the wheels on the ground and the propeller when it’s in the air.
Seating two occupants, the driver and one passenger, side-by-side, with room to store smaller travel bags (total payload maximum is 575 lb. (260 kg)), the street-legal vehicle’s wings and tail fold in, protecting them while in the driving mode. Samson Sky expects the car-to-plane transition to take less than three minutes — slightly longer than it takes to put the top down on a convertible.
The Switchblade has a maximum driving speed of 125+ mph (201 km/h), and an estimated maximum flight speed of 190 mph (305 km/h). Using unleaded (91 octane) automobile fuel rather than leaded aviation fuel, owners will be able to fuel up at any auto gas station. They can expect to get about 33 miles per gallon on the road and approximately 9 gallons per hour in flight. While a private pilot’s license is required to fly the Switchblade, Samson Sky has many reservations from non-pilots, who plan to learn to fly.
Like a typical car, the Switchblade has many engine control and passenger comfort sensors. For flying, the vehicle has the usual complement of sensors for navigation, an IMU (accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer) for yaw, pitch, and roll stability and attitude.
“Unique sensors include LiDAR for sensing and reporting height above ground for the last 100 feet during a landing, and sensors buried in the structure to measure stresses of materials,” says Sam Bousfield, Designer of the Switchblade Flying Car, Founder and CEO of Samson Sky. “I am sure as we go further through Production Engineering, we will have even more sensors added to the vehicle.”
In a typical automobile, the engine control system alone has several sensors including:
- Coolant sensor
- Oxygen sensor
- Mass airflow (MAF) sensor
- Knock sensor
- Manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor
- Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) sensor
- Vehicle speed sensor
- Ignition pickup (or crankshaft/camshaft) sensor
- Throttle position sensor
Even the lightest of aircraft, an ultralight, has sensors to provide the pilot with flight data including barometric altitude, true altitude above the terrain, variometer, airspeed, rotor RPM, and engine data.
With its classification as a motorcycle and not a passenger vehicle, safety aspects include front and rear crumple zones, side intrusion and roll-over protection, and disk brakes as well as a whole-vehicle parachute, optional Landing Height Audible Call-Out and auto-pilot.
A fixed-wing small aircraft like the well-known Piper Cub has almost a comparable gross weight (1,500 gross weight). However, keeping it in an aircraft T-hangar or a tie-down could easily cost from $120 (tie-down) to $250 or even $500 (T-hangar) or more depending on the location and if space is available with some waiting lists exceeding 7 years. In contrast, the Switchblade can be housed in the owner’s garage or parked on the driveway. And, it comes with a lot more sensors than the Piper Cub.
The 5 Companies Leading The Race For The First Flying Car (simpleflying.com)
Samson Sky | Switchblade Flying Sports Car
Samson Sky Switchblade // eVTOL Aircraft Overview by TransportUP
Hanzalek06c.pdf(Review) – Adobe cloud storage