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Quiet, roomy, and fuel efficient:  Synergy is a new class of airplane.

A Remarkable Breakthrough

Synergy_wideSynergy is an airplane designed to safely fly one to six people directly from town to town, in less time and at less cost than airliners or automobiles. Its innovative technologies provide the key to economical regional transportation in the speed range between supercars and commercial jets.

Right now personal airplanes are neither reasonable nor economical nor efficient. No fast planes offer the kind of seating, payload, and go-anywhere utility to compete with the family automobile, not even private jets. This is because no previous planes have used Synergy’s systematic approach to reducing the energy cost of flight at higher airspeeds, while preserving low costs and low speed landings.

The same proven principles of advanced fluid physics that give Synergy its exceptional stability, speed, and control (through drag reduction!) also allow it to be more comfortable and spacious. And safer, thanks to its inherent stall resistance and excellent low speed handling.

Synergy Aircraft is beginning a transition from project to product development as we work to increase our available resources, launch a compelling business opportunity, and complete the full-scale aircraft prototype, well underway.    (flight photos are of the v.18 scale model)

We believe that simple aircraft built on the right foundations -both in business and design- are a beneficial investment in mobility and quality of life.

Group travel in our comfortable, affordable smartplanes™ would be faster and more economical than any other form of regional transportation.

At Synergy Aircraft, we understand that for personal airplanes to reconnect with their potential customers, or realize their potential benefit to society, they must provide:

  • Greatly reduced travel time.
  • True passenger safety.
  • Far lower price.
  • Quiet, neighborhood manners.
  • Adaptability to hybrid, electric, and other advanced engine technologies.
  • A more spacious cabin.
  • A quiet, smooth ride.
  • Far greater economy, using common fuels.
  • Easier operation.
  • Slow landings at tiny airfields.

Synergy is the first and only aircraft designed to achieve all of these benefits, by working the entire problem at once: fundamental flight physics, human factors, and industrial economics.

Synergy Prime: Fundamentals First

Synergy in flightSomething known since the 1950s, yet hardly acknowledged, is that even though some airplanes fly at very low speeds efficiently, and others at very high speeds efficiently, all prior aircraft waste enormous amounts of energy to fly in the mid-subsonic speed range. The problem is the way they (don’t fully) deal with aerodynamic drag. Through its comprehensive, patented design, Synergy became the first aircraft to directly attack the hidden issues causing the problem, then simultaneously apply six of the most advanced drag reduction technologies.

The first key is its distinctive “double boxtail™” wing-becomes-tail configuration, which provides outstanding stability and control while reducing the dominant cause of drag at lower speeds and/or higher altitudes,  which is called “induced drag”.  Unlike boxwing designs, the twin horizontal tails -above and behind each wingtip- aren’t ‘wings’ to make more lift. In fact, these control surfaces actually create a downward force most of the time. This downward force (the right amount, in the right place) acts against the ‘induced drag’ so well that it actually reduces the total drag, a lot like a sailplane reduces its total drag by adding wingspan.  Some think of it like origami: folding up the low-drag airfoil surfaces of a long wing in 3-D space, so as to achieve stable, high-speed flight while carrying a lot more useful load than a glider.

Better yet, Synergy’s unique configuration unlocks the door to important high-speed drag reduction technologies, such as laminar flow, pressure thrust, and powered drag reduction. In short, Synergy uses its high “span efficiency” and lightweight structure to reach speeds where its “passive and active” drag reduction pays off in major efficiency gains. It then adds a turbocharged jet-fuel diesel engine, a ballistic parachute, and next-generation smartplane electronics…but without closing any doors to future systems.

Synergy brings the right innovations to make direct, on-demand regional travel a financially sustainable reality. Operational costs can be expressed as mere pennies per passenger-mile. Thanks to its tiny number of simple, modular parts, the design is able to scale into low cost mass production, and to adapt in its details to accomodate a multitude of priorities, such as different ways of loading and entering its spacious interior.

With such production comes demand on a par with other dramatic, consumer-focused innovations no one saw coming.  Really, the potential for a quiet, roomy, comfortable, fundamentally efficient personal aircraft is many times beyond typical estimates, in which the above has been far out of reach.

Synergy and its progeny are key to the future our great-grandparents built 20,000 rural airports for, but the irony today is that its capabilities present a forgotten industry with the largest business challenge it has seen. Positive regulatory progress is already happening swiftly in response to the safety and cost advantages of smart, semi-autonomous technologies for simplified operations in small aircraft. Yet even with Synergy’s ultra-simplified, low cost part design, the latent demand acquired during half a century of waiting for affordable personal flight to arrive cannot be met as quickly as mass markets require.

On top of that, simplistic thinking has consistently led to predictable and spectacular business failures in aviation; thereafter to a deserved lack of capital. Yet society needs a solution so badly that rosy investment pitches for the next ‘gung-ho failure in progress’ seem never-ending. It’s not a healthy ecosystem in which to float a legitimate solution.

Many today confuse the relatively tame technological risk of new airplane development with this epic business risk. To finally succeed will require that participants learn where they really are and where they are really going… especially to not repeat the mistakes of the many who came before. Focused leadership is required.

To steward such a potentially profound innovation safely toward broad adoption, Synergy Aircraft founders proposed a far-reaching plan that has been continually tested and refined since before any actual design work even began. To help offset the technology risk, in the wake of its debut, more than a thousand Team Synergy volunteers and financial supporters from around the world united behind John McGinnis and his small team of visionary partners to help build the prototype Double Boxtail™ aircraft… starting, naturally, in his father’s garage!

This intentionally ‘grassroots effort’ permitted thousands of engineering challenges to be met without the risks, distractions, or ‘shortcut-itis’ brought by premature business hoopla. New facilities, contracts, licensing, and investment are helping us to continue building that momentum. We’re already in the black, but our growth requirements rival those of the best tech industry startups, so profitability takes a backseat to meeting real needs for a while. We move, frankly, at the speed of money.

Once the completed prototype makes our case fully public, Synergy Aircraft will reveal a team and a production vision of the same caliber as the product …and begin working with industry to make history.

It’s been more than a lifetime since aviation captured our collective attention.  It will take a perceptive long-term effort, in well-managed phases, to deliver its true potential. Making it possible in this case is a product concept with the required demand and profitability to reward large scale investment at each level of adoption, and a tenacious, inspiring vision. We invite your interest with appreciation.

General Aviation, the Next Generation

Fuel Efficient

Synergy is three times more fuel efficient than most General Aviation aircraft.


Synergy uses brilliant physics to achieve twice the expected speed for a given horsepower.


Due to its turbocharged rear engine, laminar-flow aerodynamics, and submarine-like tail fan, Synergy is far quieter than other aircraft.


Synergy has a spacious six-seat interior, yet a smaller total size than a two-seat trainer.

Feed the Team!

How on EARTH are you doing this?

Designing and building a completely new aircraft prototype from scratch is slow and expensive. Far too slow to offer reasonable business timelines when done as a cash-burning investment from the very beginning. But not nearly so expensive when done as a family project, by an amazing group of people who’ve made themselves TEAM SYNERGY. Although volunteers and donors still power this adventurous movement forward, please note our  permanent thanks for having launched a profitable, cashflow-positive company no longer dependent upon crowdfunding for daily operations. Donations going forward will be used to help meet the needs of our student interns and your fellow volunteers, and are augmented by Synergy Aircraft and the McGinnis family to good effect. You can be very proud of what you’ve accomplished together.

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Third eye blind ... See MoreSee Less

3 hours ago  ·  

Team Synergy has arrived at #OSH2016 Come join us in Camp Scholler in the evenings and jam with us. ... See MoreSee Less

10 hours ago  ·  

One of the shocking realities we ask our prospective investors to remember is the insignificance of current aircraft production in relation to transportation demand. Most aircraft startups think making a few hundred aircraft a year would be wonderful. Although you have to start somewhere, and our plan does just exactly that, the chain reaction of market demand (the 'hype cycle') never comes close to matching up with attainable delivery volumes.

You'd need to make a million airplanes a year for a thousand years to reach the numbers already delivered by the automotive industry. Our plan deals with tiny slices of that as well. One appropriate piece at a time.
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4 days ago  ·  

If you want to understand what we're doing, THIS is what we are doing. ... See MoreSee Less

Small Things Are Sometimes Most Important

5 days ago  ·  


Synergy Featured in National Geographic Kids

  • June 05, 2014
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Synergy will be featured in the June-July issue of National Geographic Kids magazine in piece titled, “Cool Inventions”. We’re thrilled… Read More


Boxwing Designs: Synergy Copies?

  • April 23, 2014
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Several followers have written to ask about the Lockheed Boxwing: an older design which, like a lot of other non-planar… Read More


John McGinnis Speaks at TEDx Whitefish

  • January 19, 2014
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It was an honor and a privilege to speak about Synergy’s effect on the Regional Group Transportation problem at TEDx… Read More

Beautiful simplicity

“Innovation with simplicity in mind, beautiful.” -Tim Jeffries