Flying Cars

New Hampshire passes bill to become the first U.S. ​state to allow flying cars on the road

Samson Sky is currently accepting reservations for the Switchblade flying car.

Photo courtesy of Samson Sky

On July 24, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed House Bill 1182, which, among other things, defines and establishes inspection and registration requirements for roadable aircraft. It was signed into law by Governor Sununu that same day.

That's right. New Hampshire is ready for you, flying cars.

The bill, which originated in the House's Transportation Committee defies the term "roadable aircraft" as being "any aircraft capable of taking off and landing from a suitable airfield which is also designed to be driven on public roadways as a conveyance".

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It also defines a process for the registration and collection of fees associated with that registration. The piece of legislation states that upon receiving an application for registration of a roadable aircraft and the payment of applicable state and municipal registration permit fees, the department shall issues a certificate of registration, provided that the person filing the application meets the requirements - proof of valid and unexpired aircraft registration issued by the New Hampshire department of transportation and a copy of an annual aircraft inspection completed within the 12 calendar months immediately preceding the date of application.

Each roadable aircraft will be identified by a registration number that is assigned to it. Traditionally, airplanes have similar registration numbers. The registration number and the registration certificate will expire at the same time - no longer than 16 months after issuance, and to coincide with the birth month of the registration holder. The roadable aircrafts will not be required to display an additional license plate or decal.

There will be a fee associated with each registration. While the exactly total isn't defined by the bill, the legislation states that the fees will be at least $2,000, which will be payable to the city or town where the roadable aircraft resides.

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Unlike traditional roadworthy vehicles, the roadable aircrafts will not have to be inspected annually. The bill makes this distinction alongside provisions for snowmobiles, mopeds, or off-highway recreational vehicles. However, new roadable aircraft must be inspected within 20 days of purchase as new and 10 days if the sale is the result of a used vehicle purchase.

The bill also takes into consideration how the roadable aircraft will be traded on the roadways. There, it is considered a motor vehicle, where it must obey the traditional laws of the road, just like any other motor vehicle would.

When using its airborne functionality, the roadable aircraft must "take off and land from a suitable airstrip and shall be prohibited from taking off and landing from any public roadway, unless under conditions of an emergency.", which means allow flying away from a traffic jam isn't allowed.

There are no self-driving cars or roadable aircrafts driving on America's streets today. But, it never hurts to plan for the future. The section of the bill that contains the sections relating to roadable aircrafts went into effect on July 24.

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The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition features a thermal orange paint job that it shares with the Acura NSX.

Photo courtesy of Acura
Acura will make a PMC Edition of its best-selling RDX for the 2021 model year. The move comes following successful PMC Edition iterations of the TLX and MDX and forecasts a design change is in the RDX's future.

Named after Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Ohio, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition will be hand-crafted alongside the Acura NSX by master technicians. Just 360 of the range-topping RDX PMC Edition models will be made and carry a sticker price in the low $50,000s. Exact pricing will be announced in the coming weeks.

2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has given each of the North American market-exclusive models a Thermal Orange Pearl paint job - a color shared with the NSX.

It builds on the top-of-the-line RDX, which includes the RDX Advance Package and RDX A-Spec styling. The model gets exclusive black 20-inch alloy wheels, a body color grille surround, black chrome exhaust finishers, and a gloss black roof, side mirrors, and door handles. All-wheel drive is standard.

Acura has pushed the orange color to the cabin where it appears as color-matched orange stitching for the seats, center console, door panels, steering wheel, and floor mats. The RDX PMC edition features a 10.5-inch color head-up display, 16-way power Sport Seats trimmed in Ebony Milano leather and Ultrasuede, heated steering wheel, and heated outboard rear seats.

Like the NSX, each RDX PMC Edition will be built and handled with care. It starts as a body-in-white shell that arrives at PMC to be finished in its orange paint via a robotic paint system. Multiple base coats enhance the paint's intensity. Next ,a mid-coat of gold and orange mica is applied giving off a pearlescent effect in the sunlight. Finally, four layers of clearcoat are applied to increase the paint's luster and protect the finish. The total time in paint, including curing, is five days.

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Post-paint, PMC master technicians begin hand-assembling the two-row SUV starting with the installation of the drivetrains and chassis components, wiring harnesses, and electronics. Then, the wheels and tires are added. The final step in the process is to fit the vehicle with its unique interior including an individually numbered serial plate affixed to the RDX's center console.

Following assembly, the RDX PMC Edition undergoes an identical quality control process as NSX, which includes a full electronic systems line-end test, expert wheel alignment, dyno run, water-leak test and final paint examination. Before exiting PMC, each vehicle is wrapped in a protective film and loaded onto an enclosed, single-car carrier for transport to an Acura dealer.

Acura has introduced a PMC Edition of the TLX and MDX as they have entered the final year of their design phase. Could a refreshed RDX be on the horizon for 2022? All signs point to yes.

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