American company Samson claims that its 1.6-litre V4-engined Switchblade will be the world’s first flying sports car; it's priced from around £90,000
Jimi Beckwith
13 December 2017

Samson Motors, a company based in Oregon, US, has announced that the Switchblade, which it claims is the world’s first flying sports car, is ready for launch in spring 2018. 

The three-wheel Switchblade is more akin to conventional light aircraft than the ever-growing number of flying cars pitched in recent months, eschewing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) due to a lack of infrastructure (landing and take-off points) and VTOL flying cars’ relative lack of range and speed. 

Read about Uber's flying car effort here

With a cruising altitude of 13,000 feet and a 200mph top speed in the air, the two-seater features extendable wings and a retractable tail that fold out - either manually or electronically, if this currently-in-development option is specified - and extend for flight. The Switchblade's top ground speed is in excess of 100mph.

In ground mode, the car is 5.1 metres long, or the same length as the standard-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It’s around 330mm narrower, though, at just 1.8m wide. In flight mode, the Switchblade's length increases to 6.2m with the tail extended, while the wings fold out for a wingspan of 8.2m. The car’s takeoff weight is 794kg, or around a third more than the Ariel Atom

Takeoff and landing distances are 335m and 488m respectively, and although the car’s 26ft wingspan doesn’t allow road-based takeoffs, Samson claims that the car will be able to be flown from regular airports. At around 80mph, the car takes off naturally if the wings are extended, says Samson.

The Switchblade is powered by an engine of Samson’s own creation: a 190bhp liquid-cooled 1.6-litre V4, which returns fuel economy of around 48mpg on the ground, running on 91 Octane fuel. In the air, it's around 9g/hr, giving a range of around 450 miles from the 113-litre fuel tank.

Transmission for driving is a five-speed unit. 

A full driving licence is required to operate the car on the roads and a private pilot’s licence is required to fly it. US law dictates that 51% of the vehicle must be built by the owner, given its experimental/homebuilt classification. With Samson’s professional assistance, this can be completed in three weeks at a Samson Build Assist Centre.


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Standard kit on the Switchblade includes a premium sound system with MP3 compatibility, a reversing camera, a digital instrument display and leather seats.

Safety kit includes a parachute for the whole vehicle, disc brakes front and rear, rollover protection and crumple zones front and rear. There’s enough space for golf clubs in the storage area, although Samson only specifies up to around 23kg for luggage.

Airbus is getting in on the flying car scene - read more

Prices for the Switchblade are targeted to start at around £90,000, although an extra £15,000 will be applied if owners opt for the Samson Build Assistance.

Three further variants of the machine are available: Snowbird, for colder climates; Trek, a more rugged version with heavier-duty landing gear and extra mounts for additional cargo; and Aurora, which combines the Trek and Snowbird packs.

Other flying car efforts include Uber's flying car, the PAL-V Liberty, now Geely-owned Terrafugia and Airbus's flying car

Join the debate


13 December 2017

And pigs might fly.

14 December 2017

Like everything else which has gone before it this promises to be neither a good aircraft nor a good car. Probably not a very good submarine either, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

13 January 2018

Your ignorance of what is actually being done shows through but than again we were hoping for a flying car 50 years ago.

The Switchblade is being built to exact specifications of safety and functionality. It will be a totally useable Multi Mode vehicle in both the air and ground.

13 January 2018

Negativity towards what is really happening because of so many other failures in the past will be proven to be the future. There are over a dozen companies coming on line in the next three to five years - transportation will change dramtically.

The Switchblade will be the first flying sports car and you will want one too.

13 December 2017

Dont fancy being either on the Highway or in the Air in something so small, what about bad Weather Days....?, don’t think it’ll be a viabl3 mode of transport on Days like these, plus,you could get better,saver Transport, the cash would for instance cover most of your flights round America and Limo hire maybe too....?!

13 January 2018

The Switchblade is not small - it is the same length as my F-250 and six feet wide so it is not small. Bad weather is exactly why flying in aircraft smaller than a commercial air plane is not a good idea. Even commercial aircraft crash during bad weather. So, with a Switchblade when the weather is bad land and drive until it changes or you reach your destination - could even be your garage.

13 December 2017

needs to be in yellow to be del boy's transport of the future.

13 January 2018

The final paint job is of your own choosing.

13 December 2017

for VTOL than a conventional runway? Who writes this nonsense?

14 December 2017

Hmm.  8.2 meter wingspan less 1.8 body width gives 6.4 metres so each wing is 3.2 meters.  Chord not given but looks to be about one fifth of span, call it 0.66 metres, so each wing has an area of 2.2 square metres for a total of 4.4 square meters call it 47 square feet.  Take off weight is 794kg call it 1750lbs, so wing loading is 37lbs per square foot.  Yikes!  The Cessna 172 has a wing loading of 14lbs per square foot, a modern light sport plane like the Tecnam Astore has 10lbs per square foot.  I don’t see the underside of the cockpit helping much.  What's our vector, Victor?  And don't call me Shirley.


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