Minnesota Allows Flying Cars On Roads

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Minnesota is set to become the second state to formally accept flying cars as a category of vehicles allowed to use the roads. Samson Sky, which is developing the Switchblade roadable aircraft, said the measure was included in Minnesota’s recently passed transportation bill, which has been signed into law and defines the new category as aircraft that can be driven to and from airports or private strips. New Hampshire passed a similar measure in 2020.

“The bill package includes regulations to allow roadable aircraft a clear method of state registration allowing their use on state roads and highways,” the Samson news release said. “As with any aircraft, you are not allowed to take off from or land on public roads or other landing areas unless you have declared an emergency….”

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.

21 COMMENTS

  1. I think I’ll just drive to the airport and get in my plane like I always have. Somebody tell me why a flying car is a good idea.

    • Because you always wanted one? If you didn’t, this means nothing to you. It’s just like so many other things that some people want and others find ridiculous including expensive watches, graduate degrees in literature, and certified piston aircraft.

  2. Pushing a $250,000 vehicle in a Walmart parking lot is akin to asking for hanger trash

  3. “Switchblade”… hummm… a bit of an unfortunate name as that is used for the name of an EXPLODING US military munition.

  4. I wonder how many crash test stars this has ?
    (50 years in the auto collision repair industry, I know that is a meaningless measure)

    • “ I wonder how many crash test stars this has ?”

      About as many as your typical motorcycle.

  5. Woo hoo! The dream of the 50’s is finally coming true! Soon there will be a flying car in every garage… by 2050 (maybe).

  6. The roadways are bad enough. All we need is flying cars to make the sky JUST as enjoyable at rush hour.

  7. Some posters here remind me of people who said, “get a horse” when cars first came into being. Why are some people so threatened by change? This is a great and practical idea if Samson Motor Works can make it work. Think of it not so much as a “flying car” as a “roadable aircraft.” You’d still want to keep a regular car for local errands. Improvements in engineering and materials have enabled great improvements over previous attempts at making roadable aircraft or flying cars. While this won’t fly as well as a Mooney or Bonanza or drive like a Porsch or Tesla, it is still the best compromise anybody has come up with so far.

    To tom my: driving to the airport and getting in your plane is fine if all you ever do in your plane is bore holes in the sky locally. The advantages of a roadable aircraft include: 1) You can keep it in your garage and not have to pay for a hangar. 2) If you fly on a trip, you don’t have to hassle with renting a car at your destination. 3) If there is “weather” between you and your destination, you can land at the nearest airport, drive through the weather to another airport that has good weather and take off, then continuing to your destination.

    To Aeronaut and Chuck Harral: Don’t drive your Switchblade (so named because of the way the wings fold forward under the fuselage for road mode) to Walmart. Keep a cheap “beater” car for your local errands.

    To savanarts: The Switchblade still needs to take off and land at an airport. Unless everybody has an airport at home and at work, there won’t be any rush hour commute in this aircraft. The Samson Switchblade will still require pilot training and a pilot certificate. Your average “ground pounder” won’t be clogging up the sky.

    To Uniform Golf: They already have a flying prototype and are learning what tweaks are needed to make further improvements before going into production. They plan to offer it as a homebuilt kit and eventually a certified aircraft.

    Try to keep an open mind.

    • And my comment about needing to meet common sense regulations about lighting and displaying registration/license plates? To me it’s bass-ackward to create a “road-able anything and FORGET about the need for making it safe on public streets.

    • Bruhhhh YOU HAVE GOT TO BE THE DUMBEST HUMAN BEING THAT EVER EXISTED. Bruh, you know what? I’m done with you. I said what I needed to say and I believe EVERY SINGLE person on this chat will agree. Bye Kevin!! Geeez!

  8. I am all in for innovation; however, I don’t think hanger rash or Walmart rash will be a big as problem as road rash. On today’s neglected roadways that long wheel base and lack of ground clearance will pummel what ever is under there. Maybe add air suspension and be able to jack it up on the road and for landings. then you can suck them up in flight.

  9. “Approved in Minnesota.” WHO in the world thinks putting an expensive aircraft/automobile out on slippery Minnesota roads is a good idea? Have you ever looked at Minnesota cars? They are RUST BUCKETS due to the salt and ice-removing slurry! Minnesota cars are full of corrosion after only a few years on the roads–WORST areas are the heavily populated areas. For that reason, most of us either trade cars while only a few years old, or drive old heaps until they fall apart. I predict AD’s on this dream–altering periodic inspections–then QUADRUPLING the number of inspections if visiting or basing the aircraft in Minnesota!

  10. Wait, we still have people out there who can’t drive to save their lives, and some planes are still falling out of the sky, but they want to flight a car. Home insurance will definitely sky rocket when this bill pass. I’m moving inside a cave. I see bad drivers and dumb people.

  11. To Arthur J Foyt: As the Switchblade has 3 wheels, it will be street-legal as a motorcycle. Regarding “… making it safe on public streets.” — they did a lot of ground maneuvering road testing before even making it so it could fly. Of course it won’t be as safe on the road as car, but I don’t see why it would be any less safe than a motorcycle — probably safer because occupants are enclosed. Of course it will have both driving and aviation lighting — as well as a street license plate which will likely be placed where it won’t contribute to drag, or else be retractable. Note that the prototype in the photo is lacking an aircraft registration number, which would also be required.

    To WebCEO: “Maybe add air suspension and be able to jack it up on the road and for landings. then you can suck them up in flight.” EXCELLENT idea. What is “under there” is the wings, which would definitely be at risk if impacted from below. I don’t know if they’ve already thought of or done this, but you might suggest it to them. Their website is samsonsky.com — even though it already is roadable and can fly, they continue to refine the design before offering it to the public.

    To [email protected]: Anybody with any sense who buys a Switchblade would not have it as their only ground vehicle or use it for driving to work or on errands. They’d have a regular car for that. The main advantages of the Switchblade are: 1) You’d have an airplane that you could keep in your garage and not have to pay for a hangar. 2) If weather blocks you from your destination in flight, then landing VFR at an airport, driving through the weather to another airport beyond the weather, and taking off VFR to complete the flight would be an option. 3) You wouldn’t have to rent a car at your destination, which, admittedly, would expose you to local driving risks — a choice (to rent a car or not) you’d make on a trip-by-trip basis. Incidentally, the Switchblade is composite, so not subject to rust — except you may need to hose off the wheels and suspension. If you don’t live in Minnesota, why would you want to go there in the winter anyway? To visit family? If you live in a better climate, have them come to you. Only go in the summer to places that get snow in the winter. Once, after moving from St. Louis, MO to San Diego, CA, I went “home” to visit family for Christmas. I told them that was the last time. From now on, you come and visit me for Christmas.

    To Loco: Some people are assuming that every bad driver is going to want to get a Switchblade and fly it with the same stupidity that they drive. No, they still will have to get flight training, take a knowledge test, a flight proficiency test, and get an FAA pilot certificate just as you would need to fly any sport aircraft. How many people don’t learn to fly because the inability to drive their airplane on the road is what prevents them from doing so? I see it the other way: people who want to fly their own plane and take the necessary training and certification will now have another “type” option included in their “airplane single-engine land” certificate, which would most likely require at least a log-book entry with an instructor sign-off, as currently does a tailwheel or complex aircraft.

  12. From State Aviation Journal:

    “World-wide demand for the vehicle is clear, with over 2300 Reservations from 57 countries and all 50 States in the U.S., creating what Bousfield believes is a “Blue Ocean opportunity.””

  13. Have you looked at the goings on at horizon aircraft? DOD contracted to design the future flying vehicle. It’s a 7 seater that can take off and land vertically utilizing wings which open to reveal drone like propulsion. Its all electric and with the AI revolution piloting will be automated. Shouldn’t be an issue to head to Wal-Mart in one of these. Imagine jumping in and just telling your vehicle where you want to go. It automatically sets a flight plan and your off. Pretty cool. The government is assuming a 1 trillion market by 2040. I’m assuming this will be just like the car was to the horse. Super expensive first 5-10 years to where all the richest own them first. 2060 cars will be pretty much as common as horse and buggy is nowadays although I’m sure land vehicles will always hold a market in farming, construction and logistics. I mean how do I get my boat to the lake otherwise. lol.

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