We really hope that this flying car venture will actually get off the ground.
From a motoring fan's perspective, one of the biggest disappointments of the 21st century has been the complete lack of any practical flying cars taking to the skies. Despite being promised hover conversions, Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) passenger cars and myriad other far-fetched dreams, we are all still firmly on the ground, waiting.
Samson Sky is one of the many companies that has promised to introduce a flying sports car, however. And its version, called the Switchblade, is tantalizingly close to completion. In fact, the order books are now open.
A total of 800 orders have been confirmed worldwide, with the highest level of interest coming from California and Florida. Specifications include a three-wheeled body shell powered by a 190-hp liquid-cooled V4 engine that gives the Switchblade a power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette. It also runs on standard pump gas, while a maximum road speed of 125 mph and airspeed of 200 mph are claimed.
There is space inside for two and up to 100 pounds of luggage and it can cruise at an altitude of up to 13,000 feet. Pricing starts at $120,000 with a further $20,000 required for actually putting the thing together.
Instead of promising Back to the Future style hover cars or some equally untenable solution, Samson Sky’s flying car seems to be a more realistic solution that comes with some inevitable compromises. Firstly, you will need a pilots license to operate the switchblade in the sky, it will also require 1,100 feet of clear road to take off and even more space to land safely. Not exactly deal-breakers but definitely barriers to entry for some flying car hopefuls.
The wingspan is 26-feet wide so highway take-off attempts are going to most likely end in some vehicular carnage so you will need to live near a stretch of empty road or you won't be making use of its flying capabilities. Another hurdle is the US law that requires owners of experimental/homebuilt class vehicles to build 51% of it themselves. Samson Sky plan to introduce Build Assist Centers to simplify that process but you will have to be the one who screws it together.
The need for a runway, pilot’s license and a fair degree of mechanical knowledge may be limiting factors but up until now we have yet to see one viable flying car take to the skies. So even if this one is not exactly a Mr. Fusion equipped DeLorean, it is the first step towards our flying car dreams that we so desperately want to see succeed.