ABOVE: An artist’s impression of the Switchblade craft at cruising altitude

Samson Sky’s Switchblade vehicle, described by its Oregon-based manufacturers as a ‘three-wheel, street legal vehicle that you drive from your garage to a nearby local airport,’ has made its maiden flight.

The two-seat hybrid-electric flying car is available as a homebuild kit (including the proprietary Samson Builder Assist Programme) with an estimated price starting at $170,000. With a Samson 190hp liquid-cooled three-cylinder engine offering an estimated fuel economy of 33mpg on the ground and 9.5gph in the air, the hybrid-electric propulsion system (which uses unleaded automotive fuel rather than avgas) enables the craft to be refuelled at any standard roadside petrol station. The hybrid homebuild can convert from car to aircraft in as little as three minutes.

The Switchblade’s first flight took place at Grant Country International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington; remaining airborne for nearly six minutes and reaching an altitude of 500ft. In the driving seat was test pilot Robert Moehle, previous Test Director for Boeing’s 787.

The maiden flight marks a milestone of 14 years of rigorous designing and testing for Samson Sky, with CEO and Switchblade designer Sam Bousfield explaining: “This [first flight] puts us on the path towards producing thousands of Switchblades to meet the large and enthusiastic demand that we’re receiving”. So far, Samson Sky has received over 2,300 reservations from 57 countries and all 50 States in the US.

Rival Dutch flying car manufacturer Pal-V, which also has ambitious plans to certify its own flying car concept, is still awaiting its inaugural flight.

IMAGE: Samson Sky