Aircraft

Synergy aircraft aims at more comfortable, efficient personal flight

Synergy aircraft aims at more ...
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
View 17 Images
Synergy's distinctive shape plays an integral role in its fuel economy benefits
1/17
Synergy's distinctive shape plays an integral role in its fuel economy benefits
Synergy was purpose built to reduce drag in several ways
2/17
Synergy was purpose built to reduce drag in several ways
Synergy's designers believe they've found a better way to fly
3/17
Synergy's designers believe they've found a better way to fly
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
4/17
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
Synergy is currently up on Kickstarter looking for funding to complete a full-sized prototype
5/17
Synergy is currently up on Kickstarter looking for funding to complete a full-sized prototype
The prototype will be sized for up to five passengers
6/17
The prototype will be sized for up to five passengers
Synergy's creators have built a model and are now working on the real thing
7/17
Synergy's creators have built a model and are now working on the real thing
The model allowed for testing of some Synergy design elements
8/17
The model allowed for testing of some Synergy design elements
Team members were encouraged by the model's performance and motivated to build the full size prototype
9/17
Team members were encouraged by the model's performance and motivated to build the full size prototype
The key to Synergy's design is its double box tail
10/17
The key to Synergy's design is its double box tail
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
11/17
Synergy is designed to be more comfortable, more efficient and less expensive than other small planes
John McGinnis is building a five-seat prototype with the help of family members and volunteers
12/17
John McGinnis is building a five-seat prototype with the help of family members and volunteers
The Synergy project is based in northern Montana
13/17
The Synergy project is based in northern Montana
John McGinnis is building a five-seat prototype with the help of family members and volunteers
14/17
John McGinnis is building a five-seat prototype with the help of family members and volunteers
The Synergy project is based in northern Montana
15/17
The Synergy project is based in northern Montana
The key to Synergy's design is its double box tail
16/17
The key to Synergy's design is its double box tail
Will Synergy change the way that future generations fly?
17/17
Will Synergy change the way that future generations fly?
View gallery - 17 images

The airplane is arguably the biggest single revolution in travel ever. Voyages that used to entail weeks of dangerous, life-threatening navigation can now be done in the matter of hours. No single invention has connected physical space like the plane. Yet, there's still much room for improvement in terms of cost, efficiency and comfort. With this in mind a team of U.S. designers is developing what they believe is a better solution for flying: the Synergy aircraft.

Led by designer John McGinnis, the team claims that Synergy has more room than a standard personal plane, is more fuel efficient, is cheaper to build, is quieter, and allows for quicker, more versatile travel.

The key to the Synergy's promise is in its funky "double box tail" design - an innovation aimed at reducing drag in any and every way possible.

Synergy's creators have built a model and are now working on the real thing
Synergy's creators have built a model and are now working on the real thing

"Synergy’s signature shape creates stability and control through induced drag reduction- the glider-like efficiency of a long wingspan packed into a much stronger, compact package," the company's website explains. "Unlike a box wing design, Synergy's unique double box tail is stabilizing and creates constructive- rather than destructive- biplane interference. Together with wing and fuselage suction and subsonic area ruling, Synergy exploits numerous aerodynamic and structural advantages to deliver a roomy, practical, and safe high performance aircraft."

As a result of all the drag reduction, McGinnis and team claim that the plane is 10 times more fuel efficient than the average small jet and 10 times less costly, calling it the "largest practical fuel economy breakthrough in history." Synergy also has built-in versatility in that it can fly farther than existing craft and land at slower speeds at small airfields. In terms of motivation, Synergy can be flown with jet engines but is optimally configured with a multi-blade turboprop engine.

The Synergy team has already built and tested a model aircraft and is now working on a full-sized five-seat prototype. They've launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund some of the costs of development and production. With about 10 days left, they're a little over US$11,000 from their $65,000 goal.

Source: Synergy Aircraft

View gallery - 17 images
24 comments
William H Lanteigne
Okay, it's an efficient design, although made from exotic composites which translates into "not that cheap." What's really missing from the equation is the hardware and software for mostly automated flight controls, so that even Grandma can punch in a destination and let the aircraft fly itself there.
MQ
The Punch in a destination and "let the plane fly grandpa there", is already a possibility.. Talk to FAA, JAA, CASA, etc as to their motivation for restricting the field in terms of Automation and Liability.... Would you as an engineer (If you were an engineer) take the blame for every time some dimwitt flies the plane to fly itself into an inner city condo... Hey I just wanted to get home real quick.... One of the real problems is idiot proofing the control and navigation system. Maybe it would need an on-line controller approving each and every flight plan filing, then monitoring the flight in real time.... And stepping in if it diverges from the "Plan" Traffic avoidance etc is easy to do, as long as all of the traffic are fully automated.... That one maverick who Loves flying by the seat of his pants, in the "automated control space" would really mess things up. As my old professor would have said.... "The first disaster with any sort of Automatic aviation, would be the last..." It really ain't that necessary. There are other ways of getting places... These toys will always be the province of those who can afford to jump through the hoops.... Not Grandpa. Loving it..
Buellrider
Must be an electric plane because those wings look incapable of carrying fuel.
Dawar Saify
No this is the just right common sense design. Even the other comments can't criticise it but put in additions which will be in the future design, this is only prototype. This is also the actual future flying car concept. It's fuel efficiency also makes it more affordable. This is the jackpot if it can move forward. If the wings could be made from lithium polymer, this could eventually be an electric. Congratulations and good luck.
dutch
Is the design concept and intended effect scalable. If you can make this work with say a 747 carrying capacity, it becomes extremely interesting for both investment and reduced cost for travel.
jerryd
A staggered box wing is a good amount better in being lighter, lower drag and much better stability than this structurally weak design, thus has to be heavier to make up for it, flight of fancy. Now a nice staggered box wing seaplane with twin rear props, one engine done in medium tech composites has real possiblities.
Nelson
Is this not just another potential toy for the wealthy? Also, Boeing has a staggered wing airliner project in the works.
Slowburn
re; Buellrider First with the efficiency they are talking about why would you need to put fuel into the wings. Second the wings are hollow three dimensional objects why can't you fill them with fuel?
Jon A.
It seems disingenuous to compare a very small prop-driven plane with a jet, and crow about its theoretical economy. 1) Brag when you have actual fuel economy figures from an actual plane. 2) How does it compare to a conventional single wing, single engine plane of equivalent size?
flylowguy
How many times have we heard a similar story about a new and better light aircraft in development? I am not saying that this is particular project is a bad concept, just unproven as yet. And when the 'low costs' skyrocket and the plane is basically unmarketable on a large scale, everybody sighs and starts over with another project that intends to do the same thing as the last only this time better and cheaper. When manufacturers are NOT saddled with the kinds of regulation and liability they currently work under, they just MIGHT be able to push a concept like this all the way across the finish line and into the mass market. Unfortunately, those conditions only exist in places like China as of now.