The Samson Sky Switchblade, for which pre-registrations are already being accepted on the manufacturer’s website, will receive the necessary permits for flight tests. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a test flight permit for the Switchblade prototype of Samson Sky. It’s a road-going, three-wheeled vehicle capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and flight, and its developers have been working for 14 years to bring the cartoon-like concept to reality.
Interestingly, the Switchblade can turn itself into a plane at the touch of a button and can travel at speeds of 200 and 260 kilometres per hour in the two different media.
The two-seater flying car, which can reach well over 4,000 metres, is no bigger than a conventional family saloon, meaning that if it were to be commercially available, its owners could keep it in their usual parking space or garage. That is, if they pay the $170,000 that Switchblade models are likely to cost; the manufacturer is already accepting pre-orders on its website, which are free for now, but customers will have to deposit $2,000 after the first public flight.
Commentators point out that however interesting technologies emerge in this area, it is likely to be a while before we see commercially-ready flying cars. For example, the first 5 to 600 Switchblades are planned to be on the market in 2022, which will be later than that, and it is certain that owners will need a pilot’s licence to fly them. But it’s not even clear how such a vehicle would or will be insured, or whether separate packages will be paid for the two modes of operation.