"Flying Motorcycle" Prototype Coming Soon, Company Says

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Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson Motorworks, came to Sun 'n Fun this week with a scale model of his planned two-seat "flying motorcycle," along with some nifty computer animations. But he promised that by later this year, in time for EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, he'll have some actual hardware -- not a complete prototype but at least part of one, with a chassis and some of the moving parts ready to display. By sometime in 2010, he hopes to have achieved first flight. Bousfield has been working with Swift Engineering, of San Clemente, Calif., the same folks who partnered with Eclipse to design and build the single-engine E400 jet. Bousfield's folding-wing design features a clamshell case to protect the wing from road rash when it's in motorcycle mode, as well as a steel keel in case of more severe road bumps. Bousfield said he hopes the aircraft will expand the usefulness of aviation and help to attract new pilots. He plans to market it as an Experimental, with a builder-assist center in California, but may later consider LSA or certified versions if the demand is there.

The company also plans to provide training and maintenance support, he said. In its current configuration, the aircraft could carry two people and about 50 pounds of baggage with a range of about 300 nm, at a cruise speed of 128 knots.