Thursday Dec 30 2010
Popular Mechanics' cover story for Meadow Vista’s flying motorcycle
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Popular Mechanics has put Meadow Vista inventor Sam Bousfield’s flying motorcycle on the cover of its latest issue. The how-to magazine for do-it-yourselfers features a cover story in its January 2011 edition, with the Samson Motors Inc. Switchblade pictured on the front and highlighted in the accompanying article detailing government and private efforts to keep the idea of a flying car aloft. Bousfield’s flying motorcycle – still in the design stage and targeted to be ready for sale as a kit by the end of 2011 – is pictured in an artist’s rendering on the front cover soaring with an experimental NASA vehicle. Bousfield’s experiences at a Yolo County air show making a test drive on land this past summer are highlighted by Popular Mechanics writer Sharon Weinberger and he’s shown in one photo with the frame of the three-wheeled motorcycle. While the Switchblade has yet to lift off for a test flight, Popular Mechanics also discusses the aerodynamics of the combination motorcycle-airplane and how it fits into the “new wave” of entrepreneurs, NASA and Pentagon proponents “trying to re-invent personal flight and put an aircraft in every garage.” For a 3-year-old enterprise run out of Bousfield’s Meadow Vista home office, the air is rarified indeed. The architect-inventor-business owner said the amount of ink devoted to the Switchblade in an influential, well-respected magazine with a circulation of more than 1.2 million is a welcome one and should help spread the word about the Samson Motors efforts. “I was happy to be in such a notable magazine,” Bousfield said. “It’s letting people know there are new people trying to make it happen. That’s the message they’re getting across.” Don Campbell, a flight instructor at Auburn Airport and a member of the Switchblade team, said that he’s already bought two copies of the January edition. It arrived on magazine racks in the Auburn area about a week ago. One copy is for sharing with others and the other is going on the bookshelf to hold onto as a pristeen keepsake, Campbell said. Campbell doesn’t get a mention in the article but is playing a key role in building the Switchblade instrument panel. The Switchblade gets its name from its wings, which can be flipped out automatically in the same way a switchblade knife blade is. “It puts us in the same category with NASA,” Campbell said. “We’re really excited about it because it puts us in a position for people to understand what these vehicles are about.” The three-wheeler may be ready to sell as a kit as early as the end of 2011. The cost for the kit is expected to be $60,000, with another $25,000 needed for a Switchblade-friendly engine. The $85,000 price tag is in the ballpark of kits now being sold for make-it-yourself airplanes, according to Popular Mechanics.