Legislative bodies across the US are actively working to facilitate the registration and licensing of roadable aircraft in all 50 states. Leading this innovative field are two US companies, Samson Sky and Alef, along with two European contenders, Pal-V and Klein. These companies are expected to commence production in 2025.
Samson Sky, a prominent name in the flying car industry, played a key role in providing industry insights to New Hampshire’s House Transportation Committee. This collaboration led to a significant development in 2020 – the passage of the first-ever legislation for state registration of roadable aircraft. This groundbreaking bill, popularly known as The “Jetson Bill”, introduced streamlined processes for registering roadable aircraft, allowing them to operate on state roads and highways.
Other key players in this initiative included Terrafugia (who have since relocated their US operations to China) and PAL-V, a Dutch company with a US office in New Hampshire.
One critical aspect of the legislation is the regulation concerning takeoffs and landings. As with conventional small aircraft, roadable aircraft are prohibited from taking off or landing on public roads in flying mode, barring declared emergencies.
This aligns with the existing rules for aircraft. The new laws mandate that while in driving mode, roadable aircraft must adhere to standard road rules applicable to cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, or farm vehicles.
Buoyed by the success of the Jetson Bill, Samson is now collaborating with multiple states on similar legislative initiatives. Russell Bousfield, Samson’s legislative analyst, confirmed that new bills tailored to roadable aircraft are being drafted for introduction in committees across eight populous and progressive states in 2024.
“We’re very excited to provide industry input to State legislators who are laying the foundation for this new form of transportation,” remarked Bousfield. “It’s been very rewarding to work with influential lawmakers who are enthusiastic about introducing new technologies and advancements in aerospace.”
Many states are recognizing the potential of this industry to stimulate job growth and attract high-tech talent. “Legislation to streamline the integration of roadable aircraft into the highway system will benefit all flying car manufacturers,” Bousfield added. “I extend my gratitude to those legislative members who have been instrumental in drafting these bills, contributing significantly to aerospace innovation.”
Samson’s groundbreaking flying sports car, the Switchblade, made its maiden flight in November 2023. It boasts a revolutionary hybrid electric system, utilizing unleaded auto gas instead of traditional leaded aviation fuel, allowing refueling at standard auto gas stations. The Switchblade’s Skybrid™ hybrid electric drive system is a pioneer in the industry, paving the way for future all-electric variants of this popular flying car. This system incorporates unique features not found in any other vehicle.
From the comfort of your garage, the Switchblade transforms from a street-legal car to a flying vehicle. Owners can drive to a nearby airport, switch to flying mode, and journey to their destination airport. After landing, they can transform the vehicle back to driving mode and complete their journey. The Switchblade accommodates two passengers, offers ample storage for travel bags, and can fly up to 500 miles on a single tank of gas.