Flying Car with Foldable Wings and a Retractable Tail gets FAA Approval

Flying Car with Foldable Wings and a Retractable Tail gets FAA Approval

A flying car dubbed "Switchblade", recently passed the safety requirements and tests of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and now it is ready for market launch. With an estimated starting price for Switchblade around $150,000, its price point is comparable to many of high end models in the current market. 

Switchblade is a three-wheeler vehicle, and specs boast that within three minutes, these flexible components can turn this roadside vehicle into a small aircraft capable of flying at 16,000 feet (4.8 km). The top speed of this two-seater flying machine ranges between 125 mph (201 km/h) (on-road) and 200 mph (321 km/h) (during flight).

Samson Sky has started taking online reservations for Switchblade, and over 1,600 people have already shown interest in buying the car. The official website of Samson Sky mentions that the car comes equipped with a hybrid electric drive and fly system, a climate-controlled cabin, front and rear crumple zones, and a parachute that covers the whole vehicle to ensure complete comfort and safety of its users. It runs on 91 octane gasoline, one of the most common and readily available premium automobile fuels in the US.

Challenges with making Switchblade mainstream?

Even with the FAA approval and capabilities that Switchblade posses, there are 2 main challenges with making Switchblade mainstream - albeit, these will be addressed in due time.

1. Local Regulations: Whilst, the vehicle has been approved by the FAA, it only means that Samson Sky can sell it. The buyers might still need to get permission from local authorities before they drive or fly Switchblade for the first time since it is not an ordinary vehicle.

2. Insurance: Currently, there is no company in the US that offers flying car insurance. For now, to address this issues, buyers may have to buy both a vehicle and aircraft insurance for the same product.

What does the future hold?

According to the CEO or Samson Sky, Sam Bousfield, “The speed at which we do things is the biggest motivation for me. You start knocking down targets and really getting things done – it really fires up the team,” He further reveals that for him, “road + sky = endless possibilities”. Bousfield believes that only a few years are left before we see flying Switchblades in the sky. 

Whilst, the two challenges are probably only the tip of the iceberg, they are addressable. The bigger question is the competitive landscape, where eVTOL's (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft), could provide a breakthrough much earlier than flying cars. Will cars, be it flying or otherwise, even needed, if eVTOL's capture the market before. The analogy would be the same as getting an Uber vs a Taxi or a hotel vs an AirBnB.  

Post a Comment