How to build a commercially viable flying car: first, make it a motorcycle. The idea of creating a personal transportation craft that can both take to the skies and travel along the ground has been alive as long as science fiction. But meeting both the FAA's regulations for aircraft while simultaneously meeting the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's guidelines for automobiles means compromises on both sides. Enter the Switchblade, a flying motorcycle that Northern California engineering firm Samson Motorworks hopes to have on the road and in the sky by next year.
The company chose a three-wheel design for the Switchblade to meet the criteria for a motorcycle rather than a car, thus side-stepping some automobile regulations, like the inclusion of bumpers, that add weight and reduce aerodynamics. The Switchblade still retains some car-like features -- occupants sit side-by-side in an enclosed climate-controlled cab, for instance -- but the long nose and canard is more rocket or drag bike than modern sedan.
Where it couldn't dodge regulatory hurdles, Samson engineers have met them head-on, installing rearview mirrors that retract during flight to reduce drag and devising wings that scissor open during flight mode but stow away in contained, protective underbelly compartments during ground transit.
Other companies are racing their own ground-to-air personal transportation craft to market as well, most notably Terrafugia's Transition flying car (or "roadable aircraft"), a four-wheeled, folding-wing vehicle designed to fit in a standard garage. But while the Transition is designed to hit all those NHTSA safety requirements that make it as safe on the road as your family sedan -- bumpers, extensive crash testing, a stable four-point wheel base, etc. -- its high six-figure price tag makes purchasing one wishful thinking for many.
Samson aims to have a $60,000, DIY kit to market as early as 2011, though a 120-150 horsepower engine and avionics will retail separately for about $25,000, all said. The skeptics in us think there's a very slim chance they'll hit that deadline; after all, we've seen a lot of pie-in-the-sky personal flying craft ideas come across our desks, but we have yet to see any cruise past our office windows. Still, that doesn't mean we're not anxiously awaiting the day that we do.
It's so silly. I wish I thought of it. :\
If it doesn't fly itself, I think it's a silly idea. We have enough idiots on the road, the last thing I need is one landing on my house.
Picture those idiots on crotch rockets that fly by you at over 100 mph on the Interstate. Now picture them in aircraft. This is one regulatory hurdle I hope doesn't fall.
I hate these hybrid things that always want to blur the line between drivers and pilots. That line's there for a good reason.
If the U.S. government made the transition from ground cars to air cars, each car would have a very sophisticated computer inside of it, with a GPS system capable of communicating with other cars. We already have automated computer controlled air traffic control towers. If people are really paranoid, then all forms of automobiles in the future can just be completely controlled by a computer system, probably better off doing that, Human's can't be trusted anymore on the roadways, too many accidents, and too many people not paying attention, and speeding down the road for fun, or because they're in a hurry. I wouldn't worry about a Terminator scenario happening, but I would fully support the automation of vehicles, or at least some form of automation.
And these concept cars are just the beginning of a new era, however I don't think we'll be seeing any 5th Element type of cities and cars until at least 100 years from now, probably more.
They next need to make it fold so it could fit in my back pocket, then In a jam I could fly home to cloud city.
Jane Get me off this crazy thing!!!!!!!
@nikes-jordan are you from nikes or a spammer?
Oh well this is cool and wait we forget about the cops what if crimanals get these cars? "Um, 91-Alpha theres been a robberie at 34 main street and the criminal is in a switchblade. How do we get him down?" "I dont know." lol that would be funny. But if we did give them to cops there would brobably be dogfights happening. Now that would be cool.
After about the forth power outage / crash from hitting the overhead lines, these things would go back to where they will go to begin with - obscure rich collectors who will almost never fly them.
wow thats crazy why create something like when people still having trouble staying between the lines on a road why put them in the sky. And what about having like 1000 veicheals in the sky are there going to be lanes like a road in the sky or are do they just go where ever they want with out following a certain course. Then where are they going to land, are they going land on there nabourhood road, maybe the city's major roads or at the airport? this is just a silly idea giveing people a chance to have that much control on where to go.
Another pie in the sky but at least we are still dreaming.
why dont people think before they design? this thing had better have autopilot with specified allowed destinations, or else what's there to stop people from crashing in the middle of, hmm, maybe the white house lawn? or for people to really make a "grand entrance" by crashing through people's roofs? and whats there to stop people from crashing in air, lines in the sky? the only thing worse than a crash where the drivers were going full speed on the road is one where the driver are FLYING full speed when they crash, and then come crashing down to the ground all twisted and banged up and end up crushing stuff.
this looks like a small car with wings still...
Everyone seems to think that when (if) this comes to market, everyone will buy one and will crash into things.
First of all, it's a KIT, and a spendy one at that. $60,000 for the kit, and another $25,000 for the engine. That's $85,000 and you still have to build it yourself! Not many people will be able to afford that, and those that do will probably drive more carefully.
Secondly, you need a separate license for a motorcycle, as well as for an airplane. I'm a licensed pilot and I know what I'm talking about. It took me $4,000 and 9 months to get my private license, so I doubt that we're going to see flocks of commuters anytime soon.
The only way this could be massivly implimented would be if it were entirely automated.
I designed a flying motorcycle some years back while I was still working for Pan Am. The concept is actually fairly simple. We've been technologically capable of it for decades. It's a simple matter (mechanically speaking) of down-scaling tech similar to the Harrier AV-8B used by the Marine Corp to a size you can stradle. I never went any farther than design with mine simply because I have no money to invest in the project, but it IS do-able, and not for the 85 G's you think, Joe.C. (once it gets to mass production)
However, it is extremely unlikely that we will be seeing many of these, outside of military applications, for some time.
i really dnt think itd be too hard to fly one of those things. especially if its small landing on a empty street would be cake. Just line up. if all 309 million americans get one then that would be a problem
Actually, landings might be easier than you think. In my design the vehicle can hover like the landspeeders of Star Wars fame, and with computer assisted flight control, the whole thing could be no more difficult than riding a Hog.
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know the road was not enough for the suicied machine,sky is also ready.bikes[suicied mashine] were helping many,but,this will be very easy.God bless those who make path to Him clear.idea is good make it SILL.
I would think that just as with any airplane, you would be required to takeoff and land at airports, then transition to roadable configuration to get on the roads. If someone comes up with a VTOL design, that could change allowing parking lots and vacant lots to be used, but taking off from streets or roads would likely never be approved. Great idea! Hope it works!
The Switchblade flying motorcycle in the sky by 2011! This is reality now! Wow! What a dream! Every boys and secretly girl’s idea of transport. To travel in the sky will be something that I will look forward to in my lifetime. Ooh the airways will never be the same. The sky traffic laws will be interesting as will border control! Hm I can see the sky police on every sky corner or is that cloud corner.
<a href="http://www.carhiremad.co.uk/">Carhiremad </a>
Judging by the wings, It's either VTOL or has a high stall speed. runway required.
100 MPH on a crotch-rocket is a thrill, but 60 to 70 MPH in a cramped plane is BORING... Ridden faster than that, and flown in small planes faster than that. BUT, a 200MPH flying-cycle might get my attention...
Once i saw this i had to create account.. I had this idea since 1993 and been sketching designs ever since..can't shake the idea. My design has evolved countless times over years.. from pure motorcycle concept.. because motorcycles(2wheels) can not stand stationary without rider having to support... to a trike style design. The motorcycle style of design is a plus for the idea because the riding position of a motorcycle.. if put into an aircraft would lessen the effects of g-forces against the body at almost any speed. Imagine a Harrier AV-8B mating with a Northrop XP-79B who's child goes on to procreate with a T-rex 14RR.., I'd operate it!
Now, just imagine the thrill of texting while flying. Thought texting while driving was bad? We haven't seen anything yet.