MOSES LAKE, Washington — Samson Sky’s flying car, the Switchblade, recently completed its maiden flight at Grant County International Airport (KMWH), 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,” company officials said.
The first flight was achieved under cloudy skies but calm winds, according to company officials.
The Samson Sky team, positioned along the runway, watched as the Switchblade lifted off and flew to an altitude of 500 feet. The Switchblade remained airborne for nearly six minutes, then lightly touched down, completing its maiden flight, officials noted.
“The Switchblade handled great,” said 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 2,400 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, Washington, as test director/lead flight test engineer on the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.
His input helped the Samson R&D team perfect the Switchblade flying prototype, company officials said.
The company has more than 2,300 reservations from 57 countries and all 50 states in the U.S. for the flying car, officials report.
Having future owners from around the world, the Switchblade dashboard was designed to allow for either right-hand or left-hand drive, they added.
“After 14 years of design and rigorous testing, our first flight is a huge milestone,” said Bousfield, 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.“
The Switchblade has a maximum driving speed of 125 mph and an estimated maximum flight speed of 190 mph.
The vehicle has a 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, company officials noted.
Owners will be able to drive their street-legal Switchblade to the airport, where it can transform to flying mode in under three minutes, according to company officials.
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 then completes building the rest of the vehicle.
A private pilot certificate is required to fly the Switchblade.
More than nine patents have been applied for or issued, both in the U.S. and internationally, for the Switchblade.
“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.”
For more information: SamsonSky.com