MotorBiscuit has brought you a lot of developing progress on flying cars. All of them promise actual production to happen soon. Well, now we have one company that is really ready to offer its flying car for sale within weeks. It is the swoopy Samson Sky Switchblade, in development for 14 years. It has passed road tests. And the FAA approved flight testing in July. That means it is only weeks away from being available for retail sales.
What are some of the realities of using flying cars?
Look, we know that flying cars are not the most practical mode of transportation. Some say it combines the worst features of a car and the worst features of an airplane. And taking off only from an airport is one big issue. But if you’ve got the money, then this becomes both a novelty and a convenient form of transportation once you land at your destination.
And it does this with luxury features and a hybrid drivetrain to boot. Once you land, you fold the wings into the sides of the car and travel like a regular car to wherever you need to go. “The crew took off their ‘I’m doing R&D’ and they put on their ‘I am flight-test crew hats,”’ said Samson Sky DEO Sam Bousfield. “And I think that really set the tone for everything after.” Bousfield also designed the Switchblade.
What are some of the downsides to owning one?
The flying car can transport two passengers at a maximum altitude of 16,000 feet. At that altitude, it can cruise at 160 mph. Ground-to-air conversion is seamless. But there are a few downsides.
The first is insurance. Since there are no categories for these types of cars, it is expected that the Switchblade will need to be insured as both a car and an aircraft. Another is a pilot’s license. To fly a plane, you need one. That means an instrument rating. And attempting to fly into airports like LAX in Los Angeles or San Francisco International Airport requires plenty of experience.
Why would someone buy a flying car?
Another issue is maintenance. Only FAA-certified A&P mechanics can perform maintenance or repairs to an aircraft. All of this means added costs far beyond servicing a Lamborghini or Ford GT. But these are factors irrelevant to those who would entertain purchasing a flying car like the Switchblade.
There are many airports across the U.S. with airpark communities. These are usually owned and operated by ski or golf resorts. In that environment, what kind of impact would an airplane have that can taxi off of the runway, then drive out of the airport to destinations unknown? Whatever the costs, it would probably be worth it to a considerable group of flying car fans in this group.