Switchblade Flying Sports Car Achieves First Flight
The world’s most sought-after flying car, the Switchblade, recently completed its maiden flight in Washington State.
The first flight was flown out of the Moses Lake Airport/Grant County Airport, which is often used by Boeing and other major aircraft makers for flight testing. Veteran test pilot, Robert Moehle, conducted the successful flight, concluding years of work to prove-out the dream of creator and designer Sam Bousfield that there can be a true high-performance flying car.
First Flight was achieved under cloudy skies but calm winds. The Samson Sky team, positioned along the runway, watched in anticipation as the Switchblade smoothly lifted off and flew to an altitude of 500 feet. Flying high above the expansive airport and surrounding foothills, the Switchblade remained airborne for nearly six minutes, then lightly touched down, completing its maiden flight.
"The Switchblade handled great,” stated test pilot, Robert Moehle. “I'm excited to be the first to fly it away from the ground.” Moehle, who trained in flight testing with The Boeing Company, served as Test Director for the 787. He has flown 2400 hours in 56 aircraft types, including commercial and experimental aircraft. He helped start Mitsubishi Aircraft's flight test processes in Nagoya, Japan and Moses Lake, WA as Test Director/Lead Flight Test Engineer on the Mitsubishi Regional Jet. His input over the last many months helped the Samson R&D team perfect the Switchblade flying prototype. For work and pleasure, Moehle currently flies a kit plane that he modified.
World-wide demand for the vehicle is clear, with over 2300 Reservations from 57 countries and all 50 States in the U.S. Having future owners from around the world, the Switchblade dashboard was designed to allow for either right-hand or left-hand drive.
"After 14 years of design and rigorous testing, our first flight is a huge milestone,” stated Sam Bousfield, Samson Sky CEO, and designer of the Switchblade. The Samson Team will use flight test data to finalize production engineering and build several production prototypes. “This puts us on the path towards producing thousands of Switchblades to meet the large and enthusiastic demand we’re receiving,“ Bousfield added.
Because the Switchblade is such a unique vehicle, Samson opted for the Experimental Aircraft category. 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). The vehicle has a unique hybrid electric system, which uses unleaded auto gas rather than leaded aviation fuel. Owners will be able to fuel up at any auto gas station. Over nine patents have been applied for or issued, both in the U.S. and internationally, for the Switchblade.
Parked safely in their home garage, owners will be able to drive their street-legal Switchblade to a nearby airport. Once there, they transform the vehicle to flying mode in under three minutes and fly their registered aircraft to their destination up to 500 miles before refueling, cruising at 160 mph. The Switchblade seats two, side-by-side, with room to store smaller travel bags. Its wings and tail fold in, protecting them while in driving mode. The engine powers the wheels on the ground and the propeller in the air.
Estimated pricing starts at $170,000. Included in the price is the Samson Builder Assist Program where owners will spend a week assembling their portion of the vehicle at the Build Center. Samson professionals guide and oversee every step of this process and no special skills are needed. Samson then completes building the rest of the vehicle. While a Private Pilot’s license is required to fly the Switchblade, Samson Sky is seeing more and more reservations coming in from non-pilots, who plan to learn to fly.
"Today is the culmination of many years of hard work and persistence to make the vision of a flying sports car a reality," said Bousfield. "Someone asked me how it felt to see the Switchblade fly. I thought about it, and realized that this is what it feels like when your dreams come true."