Switchblade, the flying car concept developed over the last 14 years, flew for the first time Thursday according to a YouTube video posted by the company. The aircraft, which is powered by a hybrid electric drive system that supplies power to the pusher prop in the air and the wheels on the road, did at least one loop around Grant County Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, and went as high as 500 feet in its six-minute maiden flight, according to the company’s news release accompanying the video. “The Switchblade handled great,” stated test pilot, Robert Moehle. “I’m excited to be the first to fly it away from the ground.”

“The test program is a lengthy process with many small steps that we hope people will understand are intended to keep our test staff safe now, and our customers safe in the future,” Bousfield said. “Our next step is to learn what we can from this prototype, and then build three production prototypes using production tooling and fixtures and try to break them while we set up the initial assembly plant.”

An earlier story incorrectly stated that the company didn’t discuss the flight characteristics of the plane but they did include a brief description in a press release which has now been added to the story.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Looks like it flew from Grant County International (KMWH) instead of the nearby (and much smaller) Moses Lake Municipal (W20). Grant County International is becoming a popular test facility these days.

  2. That’s a lot of VGs. Curious thing to see for a non-STOL type unless there are real concerns about the vehicle’s performance as an aircraft?

  3. The wings are of this test article are fixed, with positive dihedral. The previous mock-ups had wings with no dihedral which were hinged at the root, to fold into the fuse – like a switchblade. Perhaps there is now a quite different folding mechanism?

  4. Sorry, I just cannot see this being successful. The flying car concept has been tried so many times and has failed many times. If it is considered to be an aircraft AND auto it must meet the requirements of both the FAA and highway safety standards. That will be a very expensive and maybe conflicting set of requirements to satisfy.

    Being a certified aircraft, it will most likely be very expensive. Would you want to subject your very expensive aircraft to today’s aggressive traffic and parking environment when a rental car would work better and cheaper?

    On top of that would you even find an insurance company that would insure this vehicle? The company probably does have 2300 people that are interested in owning one. There are always people with lots of disposable income who want an unusual toy to show around. But is that enough to base a business model around?

  5. Interesting design but it’s a long way from production with lots of certifications in between. I wonder how much of a market there will be for something this expensive. They are advertising a base price of $177K but by the time it goes to market the base model will almost certainly be over $250K. Look at what happened with the Icon A5 and it doesn’t have to meet NHTSA standards. It started out advertised at $134K for the base model which is now selling for $269K. I think the hybrid/electric power train with auto fuel is the way to go and I like the enclosed pusher ducted fan design for better visibility in front. I’m guessing it’s only VFR capable and very limited in useful load. Overall impression is that it’s a rich person’s toy not practical for long distance flights, bad weather or off-airport operation.

    • I agree with everything you said except I doubt that the final price will be as low as $250K. Certifications of the vehicle including the hybrid engine will push this number higher and higher. I think the $250k number may be optimistic even if it were designed as a pure aircraft.

      However, I think the design as a pure aircraft would have promise. The unobstructed views from the cockpit due to the pusher design and the wings behind the cockpit would be a huge feature. The cockpit would also be quieter and possibly have less vibration due to the ducted fan design. The hybrid/electric motor combination using auto fuel is a big plus also. Eliminating the auto aspect of the design should also allow more useful load.

    • If it was camera optics we should see the same oscillation during the landing approach (I didn’t). Of course if it really was tail boom oscillation, it makes sense that you’d see it when it’s fully power loaded at take off. I’m amazed it got off the ground. Still wondering why they keep switching test pilots. Death trap, anyone?

  6. Well, let’s see… Molt Taylor had the Aerocar certified back in the late ’50s and only sold a hand full. Tha Aussies have a certified observation plane, The Edgley EA7 Optica, which meets or exceeds all of the above talk about great views, and they have 2,300 crazies from Seattle that want one. That’s an extremely small percentage of crazies from Seattle.

    Almost forgot: It’s hybrid electric powered! Gotta get me one of those…

  7. I don’t think it’s good for much or likely to be successful, but I like it. Interesting answer to a question few people are still asking and a great example of ingenuity.

    I’m also glad to see Moses Lake, one airport to the north of my home airport, has become a popular test and development site for experimental aviation.

  8. This is a road legal experimental kit built aircraft. That fixes the legalities and reduces many compliance issues. Builders assist available for 20k.

    As usual, the price will go up, the build time will go up, delivery will be years late, and the performance will be less.

    The only only thing unusual going on is that AJ made a merely grumpy and cynical post today. 🤣😂🤣😂

    • I’m cynical when a salesmen say “160mph cruise” and “experimental electric hybrid”.
      Makes me wonder if Jim Bede and his BD5 sales pitches were reincarnated.

  9. This is a three wheeled vehicle and so is considered to be a motorcycle, not a car, so it doesn’t have to meet NHTSA automobile standards. This doesn’t fix the problem that vehicles trying to be both a car and an airplane wind up being a poor version of both.

    • I’m curious if anyone has driven a 3 wheel vehicle. Basically you cannot miss any potholes or road debris. You’re gonna hit everything in the road all the time because you have a wheel in the left left, right, and middle position. Having the wings low underneath the vehicle and getting all that stuff pounded into them while on the roads has to take it’s toll. It’s gotta be rough and nerve racking to drive this thing.

  10. So let me understand this. Sorry, I’m not up to speed on the whole flying car thing. So can I takeoff from anywhere, any street long enough that I think no other car will be using for the next few minutes? What about landing? If I have to use an airport what good is it? I’d have to drive there, know a code to get me from the street to the taxiways/runways and vice versa at the airport of landing. Why not, buy a plane, fly places, and use Uber, FBO loaner car, rental on arrival?

    • One of the three airports near my vacation home has rental cars. NONE of the other things are on offer. Rural America is being drained of enough people to make business worthwhile in our regulatory, tax, and tort regimes.
      Meanwhile, the cities close all the small airports so my regular home is 45 minutes from any GA airport where I can get on a wait list for a $600 a month, leaky hangar that offers no fence to someone who wants to break in, but which I must drive through a gate at the far end of the field and then putter along at 15 mph to get to by car so I can hurt myself trying to open the old doors.
      Or, I could rent a plane, and then pay hundreds a day for it to wait for me to finish my vacation while also paying for a rental car which would be workable if both weren’t overloaded with the costs of embedded insurance and taxes to support the lives of lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats who were all supposed to provide value rather than harm to society.
      In the end, everything wrong with the flying car is pretty much wrong with the plane. I’ll let people choose what they want to buy and sell in hopes more people do the same and things get better.

    • Kirk, that’s the problem with a road capable airplane. You cannot just use roads for takeoff for a variety of legal and safety reasons. In the end you’re better off with a real plane and a real car instead of dropping over $700K for a crappy plane and a crappy car rolled into one. Like Erik said, people should be able to by what they want, buts salesmen saying that there will “be thousands” of them made is just unrealistic.