Aug 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

New Hampshire passes "Jetson law" to allow some flying vehicles

Terrafugia's Transition, a plane you can drive on roads and park in your garage. Photo: Terrafugia
Terrafugia's Transition, a plane you can drive on roads and park in your garage. Photo: Terrafugia

New Hampshire is touting itself as the first state in the country to authorize flying cars, which is a bit of an overstatement.

Why it matters: The bill signed by Gov. Chris Sununu, dubbed "the Jetson law," makes it legal for "roadable aircraft" to drive on the state's roads.

  • That's not the same as authorizing urban air taxis to fly above those same roadways, something only the Federal Aviation Administration can do, and remains a long way off.

Yes, but: It's still an interesting development on the road to future mobility.

  • It applies to small planes that can also be driven as cars.
  • A handful of companies are working on such flexible aircraft, including Terrafugia, Samson Sky and PAL-V.
  • The law allows pilots to drive these aircraft to and from airports but prohibits landing or taking off on public roads.
  • Terrafugia and PAL-V both have operations in New Hampshire, and all three companies helped shape the legislation.

How it works: Terrafugia's Transition, for example, seats two and converts from drive mode to flight mode in less than a minute by pushing a button.

  • It runs on automotive grade gasoline and the wings fold inward so it can be parked in your garage instead of an airport hangar.
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