It’s all talk until we see one in the air

The race to put an actual flying car in the air has a new contender, and it’s promising to bring its vision to reality as early as next year. The company calls itself “Samson,” and it’s based in Oregon. More importantly, it revealed last week that it has a model, called the Switchblade, that features the functionality of a traditional car to go with the ability to actually take off and fly. In other words, Samson is promising the future’s arrival in a year’s time.

If all of this talk about flying cars sound ambitious, it’s became they are ambitious. There’s no going around it. A lot of today’s biggest and most sophisticated companies are venturing into this field, and they’re no closer to coming up with a working prototype that can effectively achieve the desired results of what a flying car should be about.

Excuse my skepticism, then, because I’m not bullish on the idea that an Oregon-based startup like Samson can introduce a fully functioning flying car by next year. That’s not to say that I’m rooting against the company. I’m not. I just think that there’s a lot of fluff coming from this project.

New Player In The Flying Car Race Promises To Have One In The Air Next Year
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This engine is capable of producing 190 horsepower and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, allowing it to hit a top speed of just 125 mph.

To be fair, let’s look at the Switchblade’s optics to see what it has to offer. According to Samson, it’s prototype will take the shape of a three-wheeled vehicle. A 1.6-liter V-4 gas engine will be used to power it on the road. This engine is capable of producing 190 horsepower and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, allowing it to hit a top speed of just 125 mph.

It all looks normal when we’re talking about its car configuration. But the narrative flips when the discussion turns to its ability to fly. According to Samson, the Switchblade will not be equipped with vertical take-off and landing technology. Instead, it will function more like a light aircraft, which means that it’s going to need about 1,100 feet of runway space to take-off and about 1,600 feet of runway to land safely. Once it’s up in the air, Samson says the Switchblade is capable of cruising at an altitude of 13,00 feet with a top speed of around 190 mph.

New Player In The Flying Car Race Promises To Have One In The Air Next Year
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Maximum Airspeed 190 mph / 305 kph
Cruise speed 160 mph / 257 kph
Max driving speed 125+ mph / 201+ kph
Range 450 miles / 724 km
Fuel capacity 30 gal / 114 L
Take-off distance 1,100 ft / 335 m
Landing distance 1,600 ft / 488 m
Stall speed (with flaps) 67 mph / 108 kph
Max Takeoff Weight 1,750 lb / 794 kg
Payload 544 lb / 247 kg

Depending on the options included in the vehicle, the Switchblade could have either manual or electronic extendable wings, to go with a retractable tail. It will also feature a good amount of safety equipment, including a parachute for the whole vehicle, disc brakes in the front and rear, and rollover protection. As a whole, the Switchblade will be offered in four variants, including the standard Switchblade. Other variants include the Snowboard for cold areas, the Trek for heavy-duty landing, and the Aurora, which basically combines all the elements from the base Switchblade, the Snowboard, and the Trek.

New Player In The Flying Car Race Promises To Have One In The Air Next Year
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Should any of you be interested in being one of Samson’s early-bird customers, the cost of owning one will set you back at least $120,000

Should any of you be interested in being one of Samson’s early-bird customers, the cost of owning one will set you back at least $120,000. That price point doesn’t include the extra $20,000 Samson is asking for build assistance.

As promising as the Samson Switchblade is, I’m holding off on making any judgments until I actually see one take to the skies.

References

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