Flying car 'Switchblade' with foldable wings and a retractable tail gets FAA approval
- A flying car called "Switchblade" can now be sold in the US market.
- This three-wheeler can fly at a height of 16,000 feet (4.8 km)in the sky.
- It runs on premium gasoline and has a maximum air speed of 200 mph (321 km/h)
A flying sports car named Switchblade recently passed the safety tests of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and now it is ready for market launch. Its creators at the Oregon-based company Samson Sky claim it took 14 years to develop this innovative vehicle. Interestingly, Switchblade can be easily parked inside a residential garage, and it is suitable for both roadside driving and flying.
Although Switchblade is not the first flying car to get clearance from FAA (in February 2022, Terrafugia Transition became the first flying car to get FAA approval), it might become the first flying car available to the public in the US. Samson Sky has started taking online reservations for Switchblade, and over 1,600 people have already shown interest in buying the car. The estimated starting price for Switchblade would be $150,000.
The uncanny features of Switchblade
Switchblade is a three-wheeler sports car that comes with foldable wings and a retractable tail. Within three minutes, these flexible components can turn this roadside vehicle into a small aircraft capable of flying at 16,000 feet (4.8 km). The top speed of this two-seater flying machine ranges between 125 mph (201 km/h) (on-road) and 200 mph (321 km/h) (during flight).
The official website of Samson Sky mentions that the car comes equipped with a hybrid electric drive and fly system, a climate-controlled cabin, front and rear crumple zones, and a parachute that covers the whole vehicle to ensure complete comfort and safety of its users. It runs on 91 octane gasoline, one of the most common and readily available premium automobile fuels in the US.
When asked about the motivation behind Switchblade, CEO of Samson Sky, Sam Bousfield told The Hill, “The speed at which we do things is the biggest motivation for me. You start knocking down targets and really getting things done – it really fires up the team,” He further reveals that for him, “road + sky = endless possibilities”. He has always believed in this idea, and Flying cars have been his childhood dream, so this is another reason why he has been able to work on flying car technology for so long.
Can Switchblade become a mainstream vehicle?
Bousfield claims that only a few years are left before we see flying Switchblades in the sky, but like any flying car, Switchblade has its own challenges. For instance, the vehicle has been approved by the FAA, but that only means that Samson Sky can sell this vehicle. The buyers might still need to get permission from local authorities before they drive or fly Switchblade for the first time since it is not an ordinary vehicle.
Another complicated matter is insurance. Switchblade is a flying vehicle, and there is no company in the US that offers flying car insurance. However, the insurance laws in most American states require drivers to carry active vehicle insurance with them. While addressing this issue, Sam Bousfield anticipates that until companies come up with suitable insurance policies, Switchblade buyers might need to buy both car and aircraft insurance.
Flying cars have been a century-old dream and now it seems like we are very close to seeing the idea turn into a reality. The challenges discussed above are real, but hopefully, they will be resolved by the time Switchblade arrives on the market. What’s more interesting is that Switchblade isn’t the only flying car that is ready to launch. There are other players as well, and it would be fascinating to see which of them we see first on the road.
Why do we do it, how can we stop it, and who else is at it?