One of the longest in-development flying car projects, the Samson Switchblade, is still at it and as the company nears flight test, it was showing its new hybrid dash panel at AirVenture this week. The panel combines data necessary for both flight and driving modes.
The Switchblade first showed in mock-up in 2009 and has evolved through several iterations to become a three-wheel flying vehicle with small, high-aspect ratio wings that fold forward into the fuselage like a knife, hence the name. The vehicle is powered by a V-four engine.
“We’re getting it ready for flight testing. We’ve finished the engine installation, radiators, designed and built the flying car transmission and put in the propeller disconnect mechanism so we can disconnect the propeller on the ground. All the drive train and running gear is pretty much intact and ready to go,” said Samson principal Sam Bousfield.
At AirVenture, Samson had a detailed cockpit mockup showing the new panel display. “It’s got an eyes-forward portion that puts all the key basic data in front of you. It also has a fault mode … so if you touch the screen, all the checklist items come up. That way, you don’t have to be fighting or fumbling. It’s right there,” Bousfield said.