Shapeshifting Flying Cars are Absurd But are a Crucial Part of Our Reality
Flying cars are becoming a reality, but do you have what it takes to fly one?
The concept of a car that can transform into a plane in three minutes sounds fantastic. Assume you’re driving during rush hour, you receive a traffic alert and shapeshifted into an aircraft, which takes to the skies, overtaking commuter delays, toll bridges, and construction delays. However, the reality of flying cars (also known as air cars) is much less spontaneous and flexible. And here we are to pop your bubble in the aftermath of Samson Sky’s successful FAA inspection. Samson Sky, the creator of Switchblade flying cars, announced this week that the vehicle successfully completed high-speed taxi testing and is ready to fly after 14 years of design, R&D, and fundraising. The company specifically performed high-speed acceleration runs down the runway up to take-off speed. Switchblade is the first flying car available to the general public in the United States; approximately 2,000 people have already reserved the US$170,000 vehicle.
Is it a bird? Is it a vehicle?
Both are correct. The Samson Sky Switchblade is technically classified as a three-wheeled motorcycle in the United States, but it also flies. With room for a pilot and one passenger, it can drive on roads as well as take off and land on runways, using wings that fold out from storage beneath its body. The shapeshifting fantasy isn’t as appealing as it sounds. You are legal as reliant on (certified) airfields with runways as any other regular airplane. This means that your take-off and landing location options are identical to those of existing aircraft. In other words, the company’s claim that “you can fly wherever you want” is contingent on access to airfields where you can fly.
So, where could a flying car take off?
Corvin Huber, Skyroads’ CEO and CTO revealed some insider information on the logistics. Skyroads is working on automated airspace management and vehicle guidance system that will allow self-driving passenger and cargo vehicles to take off, fly, and land. In the United States, there are currently no facilities designed specifically for use by private flying cars. Furthermore, its creators still don’t know how flying car owners will reserve their launch slot. There is also the issue of obtaining the Switchblade car.
What? Do you have to construct your own air car?
In the air, the Switchblade will be registered as an Experimental Homebuilt aircraft. On the ground, depending on where you live, it will be registered as a custom motorcycle or a kit car. And you must construct it yourself. According to the company, at-home builders will need approximately 2,000 hours to complete the Switchblade kit. You can also use the Samson Builder Assist Center, which claims it will take one week full-time with our pro build team assisting you at each build station on the line. All that would be left is the paint job or vinyl wrap. Samson construction team’s abilities, but they are not convinced about the customer. It’s also a waste of time and money when you consider that the price of a Switchblade could buy you a used airplane, a sports car, or even a solar car. Then there’s the issue of getting your air car approved to fly. Licenses will be required.
Owners of the Switchblade flying car must have both an aviation and a car driving license. Huber explained that they also need a flight examiner’s medical and a repair license to maintain their aircraft. However, Samson recently revealed that, while the majority of its original pre-flight owners were pilots, with quite a few being commercial pilots, retired military pilots, and aerospace engineers, nearly 20% of down payers are now non-pilots. It is not easy to obtain a pilot’s license, and what happens if you crash on the road or in the sky?
How does one insure a flying car?
Car insurance is already time-consuming if you need to file a major claim. However, with a flying car, things become even more complicated. There is currently no insurance policy for personal flying cars.
Samson believes that at first, Switchblade drivers will require two policies: one for the air and one for the ground. Consider the agony of dealing with two insurers and attempting to get your claim approved. Huber claims that anytime you put a ding in your car, you must come to a reasonable conclusion about how badly you have damaged your air vehicle and must assess its continued airworthiness on a very conservative scale. You are a participant in a large aviation experiment. The current version of the Samson Sky Switchblade on the market is still in development.
This makes it even more difficult to enter the European market, where the operator requires specific flight permission in each national jurisdiction because experimental aircraft are regulated at the national level (NOT by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency). Even Klein Vision’s AirCar flying car, which is set to take to the skies in two years, is only certified by the Slovak Transport Authority. This means that once commercially available, it will only be available in Slovakia. Samson intends to produce a certified Switchblade in the future and claims that the current design is nearly compliant. However, this will significantly raise the cost.