Although the concept of a flying car is almost as old as cars themselves, the actual use of them is still somewhat confusing or unknown. Now that flying cars are becoming available, it might be wise to talk about what rules would come into play when using one. So let’s answer the four most frequently asked questions regarding this.
Q: Will flying cars actually be allowed to fly?
A: Flying cars have already flown, and their numbers will continue to increase. For all aircraft, the governing body in the US is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA encourages expanded use of General Aviation (GA) and most countries seem to follow suit. (GA is aviation relating to private, non-commercial, non-military aircraft.)
To fly, one simply registers the flying car with the FAA, and is given an N number, which serves the same function as a car’s license plate. Since flying cars operate the same in the air as other aircraft, the FAA treats them exactly the same way.
Q: Where can you drive a flying car?
A: A flying car can be driven anywhere you would drive a regular earth bound car or motorcycle. Most are highway vehicles. (The Switchblade is capable of driving over 100 MPH.) In many states a three-wheeled vehicle, like the Switchblade will be classed as a motorcycle and may be driven in the car-pool lane, depending on local regulations. Speed limit laws and other driving regulations would apply to your flying car.
Q: Will you need a special license to operate a flying car?
A: Flying cars will require two license, one for the ground and one for the air. On the ground one will need a motorcycle or automobile driver’s license. In the air, the operator will be required to have a pilot’s license, either a Light Sport or Private Pilot Certificate, depending on the particular flying car one has. For a Samson Switchblade, a Private Pilot Certificate will be required. No new, specialized “flying car” licenses are required.
Q: Where can you take off and land a flying car?
A: You can take off and land from any public use airport or airstrip (gravel or grass). You can also take off from any private airfield where you have permission to do so. You can take off and land from your own property or a neighbor’s property with permission, provided that you can be 500 feet above the ground when you fly over other houses, businesses or any populated area. Although many people might dream of doing so, you cannot take off or land on roads or highways, except in an emergency landing situation. Of course if your name is James Bond and your license plate says 007, you can probably get away with it, but that’s a story for another day.
– Martin Swift