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‘It was almost like a timeless moment’: Prineville creator’s ‘flying sports car’ soars in its maiden flight

(Update: Adding video, poll comments from engineer, CEO)

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- It's something straight out of a sci-fi movie - a transforming flying car is being built right here in Central Oregon.

"When it actually happened, it was almost like a timeless moment," Samson Sky CEO and founder Sam Bousfield said Thursday. "It almost -- (it) happened, and you're just waiting as this thing goes around you watching it. And then it touched down again, and you realize, 'Holy cow -- this just happened! Even for us. I think that was a moment in time."

The Samson Sky switchblade hit a major milestone this month by taking its first flight for nearly six minutes at the Grant County Airport in Washington.

This milestone feat comes after 14 years of hard work.

Engineer advisor Dana Beebe said," It was quite anticipated, from the standpoint that's what we were trying to do. But it was really after five years of being involved in the development of this, it was quite exciting to finally see it get up in the air."

There are eight engineers creating switchblade including Dana Beebe. He moved from Texas to Central Oregon to be on the team.

Beebe said, "We have reservations now from all 50 states and nearly 50 some-odd countries around the world. So it's truly not just a local activity. We are truly an international audience that is looking at this as the future of transportation."

To fly a Switchblade, you need a private pilot's license, which is about 40 hours of instruction. The flying car is a two-seater, side by side. It starts out as a sleek sports vehicle, and then wings unfold, and a fin pops out the back.

The estimated cost is $170,000, $195,000 if you add advanced features. Those advanced features focus on the flight instruments -- which allow you to travel through  bad weather. 

The first production is still at least two years out, the company says -- and the goal is to try to create more flying cars. 

Bousfield said, "It's a true flying car drives and flies. The second is that it's high-performance in both modes. and the third is that it's a practical flying car. In other words, the wings and tail are fully protected in ground mode."

The Switchblade has a maximum driving speed of 125 miles per hour and an estimated maximum flight speed of 190 miles per hour.

Here's the company's video and news release on its maiden flight:

Maiden Flight of Switchblade About to Make
Regional Travel Easier, Faster and Way More Fun

MOSES LAKE, WA – (November 9, 2023): The world’s most sought-after flying car, the Switchblade, recently completed its maiden flight in Washington State. The first flight was flown out of the Moses Lake Airport/Grant County Airport, which is often used by Boeing and other major aircraft makers for flight testing. Veteran test pilot, Robert Moehle, conducted the successful flight, concluding years of work to prove-out the dream of creator and designer Sam Bousfield that there can be a true high-performance flying car.

First Flight was achieved under cloudy skies but calm winds. The Samson Sky team, positioned along the runway, watched in anticipation as the Switchblade smoothly lifted off and flew to an altitude of 500 feet. Flying high above the expansive airport and surrounding foothills, the Switchblade remained airborne for nearly six minutes, then lightly touched down completing its maiden flight.

"The Switchblade handled great,” stated test pilot, Robert Moehle. “I'm excited to be the first to fly it away from the ground.” Moehle, who trained in flight testing with The Boeing Company, served as Test Director for the 787. He has flown 2400 hours in 56 aircraft types, including commercial and experimental aircraft. His input over the last many months helped the Samson R&D team perfect the Switchblade flying prototype.

World-wide demand for the vehicle is clear, with over 2300 Reservations from 57 countries and all 50 States in the U.S. Having future owners from around the world, the Switchblade dashboard was designed to allow for either right-hand or left-hand drive.

"After 14 years of design and rigorous testing, our first flight is a huge milestone,” stated Sam Bousfield, Samson Sky CEO, and designer of the Switchblade. The Samson Team will use flight test data to finalize production engineering and build several production prototypes. “This puts us on the path towards producing thousands of Switchblades to meet the large and enthusiastic demand we’re receiving,“ Bousfield added.

The Switchblade has a maximum driving speed of 125+ mph (201 km/h), and an estimated maximum flight speed of 190 mph (305 km/h). The vehicle has a unique hybrid electric system, which uses unleaded auto gas rather than leaded aviation fuel. Owners will be able to fuel up at any auto gas station. Over nine patents have been issued or applied for, both in the U.S. and internationally for the Switchblade.

Parked safely in their home garage, owners will be able to drive their street-legal Switchblade to a nearby airport. Once there, they transform the vehicle to flying mode in under three minutes and fly their registered aircraft to their destination up to 500 miles before refueling, cruising at 160 mph.

The Switchblade seats two, side-by-side, with room to store smaller travel bags. Its wings and tail fold in, protecting them while in driving mode. The engine powers the wheels on the ground and the propeller in the air.

Estimated pricing starts at $170,000. Included in the price is the Samson Builder Assist Program where owners will spend a week assembling their portion of the vehicle at the Build Center.

Samson professionals guide and oversee every step of this process and no special skills are needed. Samson then completes building the rest of the vehicle. While a Private Pilot’s license is required to fly the Switchblade, Samson Sky is seeing more and more reservations coming in from non-pilots, who plan to learn to fly.

"Today is the culmination of many years of hard work and persistence to make the vision of a flying sports car a reality," said Bousfield. "Someone asked me how it felt to see the Switchblade fly. I thought about it, and realized this is what it feels like when your dreams come true."

For more information about the Switchblade and to follow its progress into production, visit:

Article Topic Follows: Prineville

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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