At last year’s AirVenture, Samson Motors debuted its SkyBike flying motorcycle.
This year at Sun ‘n Fun, the company showcased a proof-of-concept model of its “Switchblade,” the redesigned version of its flying motorcycle.
Working in collaboration with Swift Engineering, the company drew inspiration for the new design from the responses to a survey in its e-newsletter, according to Sam Bousfield, president.
“The survey indicated a preference for side-by-side seating, the new wing design, and the longer range that went with it,” he said.
The company still plans to develop the original telescoping wing, which allowed the SkyBike to retract the main wing almost completely within the vehicle body while driving on the ground. But the new wing for the Switchblade creates a more certain path to production, according to Bousfield.
“It is easier to implement flaps, traditional ailerons, and typical light-weight construction techniques with the new wing design,” he said. The Switchblade uses a scissors wing that hinges near the rear wheels and swings closed within the belly of the plane for storage. A center keel provides structure for the passenger compartment, and extends below the wings to provide impact protection. Clamshell doors under the vehicle protect the wing from road grunge and stones thrown by the front wheel.
The new vehicle has a considerably different look than the original design, Bousfield said.
“The original SkyBike design was so sexy, the new one looked more like a mini-van by comparison,” he said. “After the survey, we knew we had to rework things so we took clues from Ferrari and Maserati, integrating structural elements within the flowing lines of the vehicle.”
For more information: SamsonMotorWorks.com.