Switchblade is a sophisticated flying sports car being designed and developed by Samson Motorworks Company. Unveiled as a concept at the EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh in August 2009, Switchblade is touted to be the world’s first flying sports car.

The first flight of a 1/4th scaled model of the car was completed in 2012, while the production-ready Switchblade is scheduled to fly in early-2018.

The full-scale version of the flying car is expected to make a public appearance in 2018, while pre-bookings are currently open for early delivery. The full-rate production of Switchblade is expected to begin in 2019.

Samson has collaborated with Design, Analysis and Research Corporation (DAR Corp) for the design of the vehicle.

Switchblade will reduce the travelling time and enable the users to travel at faster speeds without facing traffic congestion.

Samson Switchblade design and features

The Switchblade is a completely enclosed structure based on a three-wheel drive configuration. Its exterior frame is a reinforced metal structure made of composite materials.

The clean slate design of the car is intended to maintain stability against heavy winds. The vehicle can carry two passengers in a side-by-side seating layout.

The flying car will feature a wide cabin equipped with a protective windshield, digital cockpit displays, advanced sound system, air conditioning system, and flexible leather seats.

The ground vehicle will be 5.1m-long, while the aircraft will measure 6.2m-long. The width, height, and wingspan of the flying car in ground and flight modes will be 1.8m, 1.5m, and 8.2m respectively.

The aerodynamic design of the car will offer an optimum angle required for take-off from the runway. The flight is assisted by extendable wings and short tail-like structure.

“It will be capable of flying at a maximum altitude of 13,000ft, avoiding mishaps in the airspace.”

The vehicle can be driven to a nearby regional airport to fly to desired destinations. It will be capable of flying at a maximum altitude of 13,000ft, avoiding mishaps in the airspace.

The vehicle is safeguarded in emergencies by a complete vehicle parachute system and has facilities for protecting passengers during a rollover. It is further equipped with a dual ground / air lighting systems and protective system to safeguard wings during road travel.

Switchblade variants

Samson Switchblade will be available in three models, namely Snowbird, Aurora, and Trek. The Snowbird model will be a winterised version designed for heavy winters and will be fitted with windshields, heated pitot tube, re-locatable ski racks, de-icing systems, and heaters.

Aurora and Trek will offer similar features to the Snowbird model and will also feature additional equipment and systems such as heavy landing gear, enhanced cargo holding capacity, high-lift wing to assist short take-off and landing (STOL) operation.

The Trek model will be further equipped with heavy radiators to enable operations in harsh climates.

Engines and performance of Switchblade

The flying sports car will be powered by a liquid-cooled Samson V4 engine with a rated power of 190hp. It will burn 91 octane auto-type fuel and will offer a mileage of 17km/l on the road, as well as 34l/hr in flight mode.

Switchblade will offer a greater power-to-weight ratio, making it equivalent to a sports car. The vehicle will be equipped with a continuously variable transmission system. It will feature dual-redundant ignition, fuel systems, air intakes, and engine computers. The front and rear wheels will be fitted with disc brakes.

The vehicle can travel at a maximum speed of 305km/h in air and 201km/h on land. The maximum payload capacity and maximum take-off weight of the vehicle will be 247kg and 794kg respectively.

The flying car will have the maximum fuel capacity of 114l and can reach a distance of 724km at a single stretch. It will require a take-off distance of 335m and a landing distance of 488m.