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Live Free or Fly?

New Hampshire Greenlights UAM Roadable Aircraft

Will future NH license plates read "Live Free or Fly"?
Will future NH license plates read "Live Free or Fly"?

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu recently signed into law NH House Bill 1517. This legislation would permit “roadable aircraft” (AKA flying cars or eVTOLs — electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) to drive on roads in the Granite State.

A former NH legislator, Representative Keith Ammon, suggested Steven Smith, who represents Sullivan County, District 11, file the bill because of Smith’s interest in emerging transportation technology. The bill, which addresses the mechanics of how to register such vehicles, passed on a voice vote.

Governor Sununu realized the issue was non-controversial and the vehicles exist now. And, between the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the NH Department of Transportation (whose Bureau of Aeronautics administers the registration), and the NH Division of Motor Vehicles, the legislation could be implemented very inexpensively.

The move made the state the first to pass roadable aircraft legislation in the US. The legislators see these vehicles as a boon to tourism as visitors might use them to soar over Interstate Highway 93 en route to the White Mountains.

NH Open for Flying Car Business

The legislation might also be a game-changer for businesses, Smith said. It would let employees traveling between offices avoid rental cars and take a more direct route, saving time and money.

The legislators hope this move signals to the world that NH is tech-friendly, perhaps even attracting VTOL manufacturers to build plants in the state.

Winter weather might be a deterrent for eVTOLs’ operations, but gasoline-operated roadable aircraft will face no such hurdles, Smith explains.

For now, these vehicles get New Hampshire’s famous “Live Free or Die” license plates. But in the future, maybe eVTOLs will sport “Live Free or Fly” tags.

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Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.