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'Switchblade' Flying Car to Begin Flight Testing

Flight of the Disruptor

A flying car 14-years in the making has received FAA approval. Parties readying their bank-cards are advised to temper their enthusiasm insomuch as FAA approval and airworthiness certification are markedly different states of being; the latter denotes the agency’s formal acknowledgement that an aircraft’s design is in compliance with applicable airworthiness standards.

Approval, conversely, indicates only that the FAA has deemed an aircraft concept—in this instance, Samson Sky’s Switchblade—sufficiently developed for flight-testing.

In terrestrial applications, the Switchblade is a three-wheeled vehicle after the fashion of the 1970s Robin Reliant. It accommodates two occupants in a side-by-side, enclosed cockpit with space enough for fifty-pounds of baggage. The Switchblade’s hybrid-electric powerplant drives a ducted, aft-mounted pusher-propeller situated forward of a stowable, dual-vertical stabilizer, T-tail empennage. The contraption’s wings—which fold into its fuselage—span 8.2-meters (just under 27-feet) and feature slotted flaps.

The Switchblade’s maker—Oregon-based Samson Sky—claims the machine will reach speeds of up to two-hundred-statute-miles-per-hour and a maximum altitude of 13,000-feet. A five-hundred-mile range figure is cited, albeit in the absence of corresponding speed, altitude, atmospheric, and fuel-burn datum. The vehicle’s road-performance figures remain unknown. Samson Sky has, however, put forth that the Switchblade can transition between its road and sky-going incarnations in only three-minutes.

Earthbound, the Switchblade is [technically] a motorcycle.

Operating the beastie will require a valid driver’s license with motorcycle endorsement, and a Private Pilot Certificate—though rumors have been whispered that the Switchblade may meet Light Sport Aircraft criteria, and be piloted, therefore, by holders of Sport Pilot Certificates.

Samson Sky CEO and Switchblade inventor Sam Bousfield asserts that, to date, more than 1,600 buyers have reserved production positions for his company’s $170,000 offering.

Those yet clinging to their bank-cards may reserve their flying cars with a deposit of $2,000 payable within the first 45-days of what Samson Sky terms “... our Switchblade public First Flight.”

FMI: www.samsonsky.com


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