The mainstream media (MSM) can be quizzical over the notion of flying cars. Apart from confusing them with eVTOLs, the flying car, a vehicle which can both legally travel on roads and fly in the sky, is couched between The Jetsons and a Heath Robinson whimsical cartoon-like contraption.

What the MSM, perhaps, do not fully understand is the public’s appetite for such a vehicle, however unlikely it is to pass, at present, all the stringent air regulations. Perhaps, it is seen more as a fanciful dream than an actual reality? The ability to park it in a garage, then drive it down a neighbourhood road before taking off, is more the machinations of the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sam Bousfield

Even so, U.S-based, Samson Sky, the creators of the Switchblade flying car, is undaunted by the challenges that lie ahead and announced this week reservations for its vehicle has soared to over 100 per month or more than 600 during the last 6 months alone.

Sam Bousfield, Samson Sky CEO and designer of the Switchblade, says this is the largest increase in the company’s history. He commented, “Over the years, we’ve certainly had big surges in Reservations during major aviation events where we were exhibiting the Switchblade, but this increase is more than we’ve ever seen.”

The cost of a Switchblade is USD150,000. Advance payment will be available after successful test flights. A driver’s and pilot’s license is required to operate the vehicle.

What intrigues Bousfield is that a new trend is emerging. For more than 50 percent of these Reservations are from non-pilots. Due to this increasing level of interest, Samson Sky says it is expanding its plans to include an effective in-house flight training program utilising a world-class simulator.

Bousfield continued, “As of May 2022, reservations received were at an impressive 1634, but due to a growing interest, this figure has now reached close to 2,250, where reservations are coming from 54 different countries and all 50 U.S States.” 

The pressure placed on the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to allow flying cars to become a future reality, surely must grow, where safety remains paramount.

Meanwhile, after 14 years of development, the Switchblade described as “a fast, street-legal three-wheeler that converts at the touch of a button into a 200-mph (322-km/h) airplane”, has been approved for airworthiness by the FAA. Trials have been ongoing since the Summer.

While the vehicle is classified presently as a motorcycle by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Samson Sky team refer to it as a flying sports car because of its high performance. The engine is a supercharged, lightweight 190 hp liquid-cooled 3-cylinder with Skybrid Technology, with a top speed of over 125 mph. In the air, the vehicle is designed to cruise at 160 mph with a top speed of up to 200 mph and a range of 500 miles.

The Switchblade is named after the knife-like way its wings swing out from beneath its two-seat cabin when it’s time to fly. The tail, too, swings out from where it’s stowed behind the large pusher prop, then unfolds into a T-shape. Samson Sky says the entire push-button conversion from street-legal trike to aircraft takes less than three minutes.

Taking off from a local neighbourhood road is unfeasible, so an owner must drive to a local airstrip and take off from there. The vehicle requires a 1,100-ft runway for takeoff and a shorter 700 ft for landing. It’ll easily fit into a regular garage once the flight gear is folded away, standing just 5.1 ft high and occupying a 16.8 x 6-ft footprint not far off that of a family sedan.

While Caractacus Potts amused, “And Chitty flew high over the mountains back to England, everybody safe and sound…” what is the actual reality for flying cars?

The Klein Vision AirCar was officially granted certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Air Transportation Authority (CAA) back in January after more than 70 hours of test flights including 200 takeoffs and landings. The video released at the time is highly impressive (watch above).

This surely offers great hope to all flying car manufacturers.

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(images: Samson Sky)