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 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.

View gallery - 17 images