Flying cars were given a big assist when New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed what has been nicknamed the Jetson Bill, along with other transportation-related legislation included in a package passed recently.
The bill package included wording to allow roadable aircraft—often called flying cars—a clear method of state registration, allowing their use on state roads and highways. While roadable aircraft can drive on highways, their purpose is mostly to fly from airport to airport.
“Having two sets of rules (air and ground) for this category of vehicle would put a significant burden on manufacturers and make for a confusing integration of roadable aircraft into the highway system,” said Sam Bousfield, CEO of Samson Sky, a company developing a flying car.
Bousfield’s company is one of three that provided industry input to New Hampshire’s House Transportation Committee. Other stakeholders included Terrafugia, who is currently testing at Nashua, and PAL-V, a Dutch company with a U.S. office at the Manchester-Boston Airport.
As aircraft are already required to have a rigorous annual inspection by an aircraft mechanic, the new law simplifies ground registration of flying cars once registered with the FAA. After the FAA has issued a tail number, commonly called an “N” number, the new law allows the vehicle to be registered with New Hampshire for road use by paying a set fee, requiring no further compliances from the state. Drivers of roadable aircraft are required to adhere to the rules of the road while driving, the same as any other car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle or farm vehicle.
“This is landmark legislation, and places New Hampshire at the leading edge of incorporating roadable aircraft into a state transportation system,” said Bousfield.
The Jetson Bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Smith (R-Sullivan) and co-sponsored by Sen. David Watters (D-Dover) with bi-partisan support.
The Switchblade flying sports car is classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. Department of Transportation, but the Samson Sky team likes to call it a flying sports car because of its high performance, the company says. The engine is a turbocharged, lightweight, 200-hp liquid-cooled V-4 that is capable of 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph. In the air it is designed to cruise at 160 mph, with a top speed of up to 190 mph and a range of 500 miles.