If Oregon-based Samson sticks to its timeline, there will be a real flying car on sale next year. Samson revealed the Switchblade Wednesday and promises the functionality of a regular car and the ability to take off and fly in one package.
The company's creation is a three-wheel vehicle with a 1.6-liter V-4 gasoline engine with about 190 horsepower paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Unlike most flying car concepts, which are VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles, the Switchblade is more like a light aircraft. Drivers and pilots won't be able to perform takeoffs on the street since the vehicle requires about 1,100 feet to take-off and 1,600 feet to land safely. The 26-foot wingspan doesn't help the prospect of street-based takeoffs either. However, if the wings are extended, the car will lift off the ground naturally after 80 mph.
When in the air, the vehicle will cruise at 13,000 feet with a top speed of 200 mph; on the ground, the Switchblade will top out at 100 mph. As for the running gear, extendable wings and a retractable tail are deployed manually or electronically controlled depending on the options equipped. Running 91 octane, the flying car will travel 450 miles before needing to refuel. Safety equipment includes a parachute for the whole vehicle, disc brakes front and rear, rollover protection. Creature comforts are rather minimal, but leather seats, a premium audio system, and a digital instrument cluster are all standard.
Those who need more than the standard gear can look at a Snowbird for colder areas, or more rugged Trek variant with heavy-duty landing gear. An Aurora variant combines both the standard Switchblade, Trek, and Snowbird features.
If any of this sounds interesting, Samson will ask $120,000 for the contraption. However, since U.S. law says the owner must assemble 51 percent of the vehicle—due to its classification—the company will charge another $20,000 for build assistance. And, yes, owners will need a valid driver's license and private pilot's license to operate the Switchblade legally.