For decades, the flying car has been an expectation of the future. Now the Switchblade is turning this vision into a reality. The Italian-inspired, three-wheeled, carbon-fiber flying car is a high-performance vehicle both on the ground and in the air.
By Alyssa Gautieri
Sam Bousfield, the founder and creator of the Switchblade, equivocates the dynamic vehicle with a time machine. “When you have the capability to fly and drive in the same vehicle at any point on your trip, it opens up all kinds of avenues and places that you could go,” he says. “You can get somewhere so much faster and save tremendous amounts of time.”
Bousfield, who first came up with the idea for the Switchblade in 2007, wanted to make flying more useful and to transform flight into an everyday, trouble-free activity. “[The Switchblade] reduces all the worry
involved with travel,” he says. “It makes everything much easier. There are two systems and you can use one or the other, whichever is the best for where you’re going when you’re going.”
The Switchblade is named after its retractable wings, which swing out from beneath the vehicle like the blade of a pocket knife. Designed with convenience in mind, this automated transition from automobile to aircraft takes only 45 seconds.
Samson Motors of Central Oregon, creators of the Switchblade, designed and redesigned the vehicle to ensure a balance between luxurious aesthetics and function. “We have raised the form, the art of the Switchblade, as high as we could in quality but not past the point where it interferes with the function,” Bousfield says of the decade-long process.
Photos courtesy of Samson Motors, Inc.
While many vertical take-off and landing attempts require new infrastructure, the Switchblade combines the use of current road and airport systems. “The system that we are using is very freeing and enabling,” Bousfield says. “I see [the Switchblade] as a transforming element in society because it allows such greater freedom in personal and business travel.”
The dynamic vehicle can travel through the air at over 200 miles per hour because of its aerodynamic shape. On the ground, the vehicle is capable of significant speed as well. “We will have fun investigating just how fast that is,” Bousfield says of the vehicle’s potential speed. “We have already exceeded 100 miles per hour with our full size, full weight ground prototype.”
Designed with speed in mind, a ground prototype out-performed a Jaguar XK8 in head-to-head acceleration testing. The Switchblade, which is expected to make its first public flight in the spring, also has the power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette.
Bousfield believes the Switchblade will change the way in which people travel. “Flying should become something not to be feared,” he says. “I hope that more and more people begin to visualize themselves being able to fly. I do see that in the future, more people will.”
Samson Motors hopes to begin deliveries of the Switchblade by the end of 2018. The base model will sell for $140,000, while custom-designed versions will begin at $500,000.