A number of "carplanes" have recently appeared on the market or will be appearing soon. The purpose of this site is to contrast and compare these vehicles and to provide the latest information on each. It is an unbiased site that is not funded by any of the manufacturers.
Edited by Jeffrey W. Buckholz, PhD, P.E., PTOE
Where can you take-off and land a carplane?
I finally received an official response from the FAA. Its kind of tough to decipher so I called Alex Zekster at the FAA (202-267-3073). He's in the Regulations Division of the office of Chief Counsel and was listed in the letter as the contact person. He was very nice and explained to me that the letter is sort of intentionally murky because they're not totally sure how this whole carplane thing is going to play out either. He did say that the FAA would expect the carplane pilot to demonstrate good common sense when taking-off and landing - such as avoiding areas with people or power lines. Of course, as always, any airspace restrictions shown on a sectional map need to be considered as well. We still need to recognize that local agencies (cities and counties) may have ordinances that place additional restrictions on take-offs and landings. However, I reviewed the City of Jacksonville, Florida ordinances and the section dealing with airplanes doesn't place any additional restrictions. I also reviewed Florida State Statutes and didn't see anything pertinent. So, at least here in Jacksonville, it appears that you can take-off and land almost anywhere in the city as long as you have the landowner's permission (obviously, trespassing is not allowed).
Can you obtain insurance on a carplane?
Maybe, for a couple of the offerings. The Skyrunner web site has an insurance link to the EAA where insurance can be provided; the same insurance that is used for powered parachutes. The Pal-V Liberty web site states: "We will make sure that with the introduction of the PAL-V Liberty in your country, insurance for your vehicle will be available. For this we have a cooperation with one of the largest insurance brokers in the world AON PLC, and an aviation insurance house NUYTTEN VERZEKERINGEN N.V." It's also interesting to note what the Samson Switchblade web site says about insurance: "Negotiations are currently underway with insurers who can provide both ground and air insurance. While there is currently no flying car insurance program, initially Switchblade drivers will need two policies: one for the air and a separate one for the ground. Due to the training included with our vehicles, and the safety features we are providing, we believe we will be able to provide multiple insurance options. We will have an insurance representative at Samson who will assist purchasers with insurance matters."
Most carplanes use automobile gas (a.k.a. MOGAS). How available is this at airports?
Not very - which means that most of the time you will be forced to drive off-airport to fill up. This isn't a problem at the beginning or end of a trip since you will probably be driving past lots of gas stations on your way to and from the airport, but it will be a hassle at intermediate airports where you are landing just to fuel up and use the bathroom. It appears that there around 200 airports in the US that have MOGAS (fancy aviation term for auto gas), with 5 such airports here in Florida. Not that many. By the way, it would be a very good idea to avoid auto gas containing Ethanol since this additive can be detrimental to both the performance and life of aircraft engines. Finding non-ethanol auto gas could get tricky in some parts of the country. The good news is that auto gas is only about 60% as expensive as airplane fuel.
Aren't Passenger-Carrying Drones Carplanes?
No. Under the IDEAL CARPLANE tab you can read why there is a clear distinction between true carplanes and drones.