Flying car work nearing completion in Prineville
Approximately 10 years ago, Samson Sky announced their intention to build the first-ever flying sports car.
Work on that car later began taking place in a hangar at the Prineville Airport.
Long before that, however, the Switchblade was a dream created by Sam Bousfield, founder and CEO of Samson Sky — and creator of the Switchblade. He dreamed of a flying car as early as the fifth grade. Later, as an inventor and an architect, he decided it was time to make his vision a reality.
In a recent corporate video released by Samson Sky, Bousfield commented, "The real purpose behind this design, and doing the Switchblade in the first place, is so that we could make aviation (aircraft) more useful. Not something you do just on weekends for fun or every once in a while for business, but something you could use to make your life better — to actually get around the country, to go places you wouldn't ordinarily be able to get to."
He added that where the Switchblade concept really took form or shape was when they posed the question, "What layout should a flying and driving vehicle be?"
The Switchblade is a three-wheel, street-legal vehicle that can be driven from a garage to a nearby local airport. It runs on regular gasoline. Once at the airport, the wings swing out and the tail extends in less than three minutes. The pilot can then fly the registered aircraft directly to their destination. The Switchblade can reach speeds up to 190 mph and an altitude of 13,000 feet. The pilot lands, transforms the aircraft into a sports car and is back to the driving mode. While on land, the car can approach speeds up to 120 mph. The wings safely fold in and are safely stowed and protected.
Recently, Rodney Badgett, a student from the Youth Transition Program in Crook County, was accompanied through the Samson Sky facility, while Bousfield described the progress on the pre-production prototype. He explained that they will soon be assembling the tail boom (the part that connects the tail to the body) and doing structural testing on it. The staff at Samson Sky has shared the progress of the Switchblade with many young aviation enthusiasts over the past 10 years.
"It was truly amazing to experience this great innovation, and to see how long Sam (Bousfield) worked on his dream. It was truly inspirational," Badgett exclaimed.
The Switchblade has side-by-side seating for two and room for 50 pounds of luggage. It includes a wide cabin and has the power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette.
Bousfield has surrounded himself with innovative professionals — people like Ron Burch, chief builder at Samson Sky. In the recent corporate video, Burch was interviewed while testing the Switchblade turn signals. These signals are incorporated into the side mirrors, and this is what people see as the vehicle signals to make a turn. Most cars have an additional turn signal on the front corners of the vehicle, but because the Switchblade is classified as a motorcycle (due to three wheels) it also has the same requirement as a motorcycle in this regard.
"The Switchblade is relatively revolutionary. It is not like anything you've ever seen before. It kind of looks like the Space Shuttle," commented Burch, in his video interview. "What excites me about building the Switchblade is just about everything — from the concept to the enthusiasm of people; family members, everybody at the airport, our customers, and pre-flight buyers. I mean, it's endless."
Samson Sky contracted with Composite Approach in Redmond to make molds and carbon fiber parts for the Switchblade prototype.
On Samson's corporate video, Sam Meier, general manager at Composite Approach, stated, "We have the ability to come alongside a project like Samson and Switchblade, to be able to help design and get their product into a manufacturable state," said Meier. He went on to explain how the Switchblade "… is a change for everybody in the way that we think about personal transportation."
Molds and parts for the rear body section of the prototype are being made at Composites Universal Group in Warren, Oregon. Bousfield indicated that these will be completed in the very near future.
International Executive Technology's (IET) PR and Marketing Consultant Cebron Walker is helping Samson Sky get its news of the Switchblade out globally. IET videographer Ryan Cota and Walker recently came up to Prineville from Sacramento, California, to shoot a corporate video, which will be posted on the new website they're developing for Samson Sky.
Currently, Samson Sky has over 300 Reservation Holders and nearly 70 people have pre-purchased their Switchblade. First flight is scheduled for mid-2018.
"It's getting really exciting here at Samson Sky," exuded Bousfield.
All quotes, with the exception of Rodney Badgett, were derived from the Corporate video, shot by IET videographer Ryan Cota.