Samson Motors of Central Oregon, creators of the Switchblade – the world’s first flying sports car – successfully completed grueling suspension testing, and the engine was recently pushed to over 110% power in a test cell, helping ensure engine reliability in preparations for a Spring 2018 launch. If you’ve dreamed of the day you could go from driving down the road, and like the Jetsons, take to the skies, this is now becoming a reality.
The dynamic vehicle has the looks of an Italian sports car and was just featured in the Ultimate Gift Guide from luxury lifestyle magazine, Robb Report, in their December issue. Entitled “Cutting-Edge Flying Car,” the article highlights the unique features of the Switchblade as a high-performance vehicle on the ground and in the air. Luxury without compromise is what Robb Report is all about, as the magazine also highlights the latest from Lamborghini, the Spike Aerospace supersonic business jet, and other high-tech offerings.
“We started from the beginning with the purpose to design a flying car that provided high performance in both modes,” said Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson. “Instead of asking ‘how do you make a car fly?’, we asked ‘what layout should a flying/driving vehicle have?’, and designed a vehicle based upon that layout.” Actual field testing and wind tunnel data may back up their claims. A ground prototype out-performed a Jaguar XK8 in head-to-head acceleration testing. The final version, slated to go into production next year, has the power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette. “I think racing is definitely in our future,” says Bousfield, an avid motorcyclist and pilot.
The Switchblade is at odds with many of the more recent Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles that have been touted by big name investors like Google and Airbus. “There is a HUGE difference between the Switchblade and any of the VTOL attempts. It isn’t just that the VTOL is so much slower, or so limited in range. It is the lack of infrastructure in place to be able to use them,” explains Bousfield. “You would have to build landing places and parking spots for these types of vehicle at every place you want to visit – shops, restaurants, apartment buildings, office buildings, dentists, doctors, schools – and this is a many decades-long, difficult process.”
The Switchblade combines the use of current road and airport systems to bypass the worst of traffic congestion, but still provides door-to-door travel. Bousfield adds, “as any pilot can attest, there is a huge amount of space in the skies to accommodate air traffic. Expansion could remain unhindered for many, many decades. The US has literally thousands of small airports within easy reach of most places that people would want to go.”
“Having the ability to land and drive somewhere really makes a difference. It just takes so much time out of doing business, or traveling for pleasure. You are never stopped, even by bad weather,” says Bousfield.