Flying “sports car” patented for retractable wings

Switchblade, the high-performance flying car developed in Oregon, has been granted an EU patent for its wing-swing design in what its creators call a “milestone.”

Samson Sky, the Oregon-based company behind Switchblade, aims to create a “street-legal vehicle that you drive from your garage to a nearby local airport.”

Once in the airport, “you transform the vehicle from driving to flying mode, and fly to the airport closest to your destination, where you land, transform back to driving mode, and drive the last few miles to your final destination.”

The new patent, approved by the EU, brings that concept closer to reality, adding to five other patents the car has been granted so far.

"Having these design patents on the wing-swing is a vital safeguard for Samson,” said Samson CEO Sam Bousfield, who is also Switchblade’s designer.

“Being able to retract the wings and tail into the vehicle, fully protecting them while driving, is key to what makes the Switchblade truly practical for everyday use. No other flying car has ever had that feature."

Marketed as a flying “sports car,” Switchblade had its maiden flight in November as it took off from the Moses Lake Airport in the state of Washington. The retractable wing technology was not demonstrated during the test flight.

Samson Sky said the interest in the car has surged after the maiden flight and claims to have over 2300 orders from 57 countries for Switchblade, including all the US states.

Starting from $170,000 per unit, 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), according to the company.

The vehicle uses a “unique hybrid electric system” and runs on unleaded auto gas rather than leaded aviation fuel, which means owners can fuel it up at any regular auto gas station, it said.

The same engine powers the wheels on the ground and the propeller in the air, while high performance both on the road and in the air is what “sets it apart from other entrants in the race to provide the first practical flying car.”

The Switchblade seats two and would still require a flying license to operate.

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