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Synergy in flight

Comfortable, fast, and cost effective:  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 dramatically reducing the energy cost of flight at higher airspeeds, while preserving low costs and low speed landings.

The same patented advantages that give Synergy its exceptional stability, speed, and control (through major 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 several full-scale aircraft prototypes, 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:

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

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. Because it solves one of the largest shared problems in the modern world, we are utterly committed to bringing it to life. We appreciate your interest, and we welcome the assistance of everyone who believes it is long past time for the modern airplane to arrive.

Synergy Prime: A leap forward in the ratio of energy used, for the momentum obtained.

Synergy in flightSomething known since the 1950s, yet hardly acknowledged, is that even though some airplanes fly at very low speeds efficiently, and others fly at very high speeds efficiently, all prior aircraft waste enormous amounts of energy to fly in the mid-subsonic speed range. The present economics of on-demand regional flight are abysmal, and that is why we don’t ‘all have our own airplanes.’

The problem is the way that existing aircraft (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 to fix them.

The first key is its distinctive double boxtail™” wing-becomes-tail configuration. (Similar-looking but inferior “box wing” ideas have been rejected for decades because they’re unstable, structurally vulnerable, and create interference drag. In contrast, Synergy’s DBT configuration provides rock-solid stability with greater strength and without interference drag. It actually achieves this stability, and its naturally coordinated turn control, by reducing the dominant cause of drag at lower speeds, higher weights, and higher altitudes, which is called “induced drag”.)

Unlike every boxwing design, the twin horizontal tails -above and behind each wingtip- aren’t ‘wings’ to make more lift. In fact, these moving ‘control surfaces’ actually create a downward force most of the time. Putting the right amount of this downward force in the right place above the wingtip reacts against ‘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 a long wing in 3-D space to achieve stable, high-speed flight while carrying a lot more useful load than a glider.

Abundant flight surfaces increase safety. The DBT configuration allows safer low speed handling, lower landing speeds, and a demonstrated stall prevention and recovery technology aimed at stamping out the number one cause of small airplane accidents.


Synergy tails are just the beginning… but a key to unprecedented improvements

Synergy’s unique ‘tail on the wings configuration’ provides many amazing benefits. Getting a tail out of the way shortens the fuselage and makes all the proven high-speed drag reduction technologies (such as laminar flow, pressure thrust, and powered drag reduction) easy to implement. The high “span efficiency” of the configuration helps it reach the speeds over 200 MPH where passive and “active” drag reduction begin providing major efficiency gains, and yet higher speeds. These features in combination provide the 8x improvement required for Synergy to double the speed per HP of General Aviation.

Our turbocharged jet-fuel diesel engine, ballistic parachute, and next-generation, self-flying smartplane ™ electronics are other key technologies to help lower barriers to personally operating an airplane. Future versions accept many options for energy source and powerplant, because the fuselage is accommodating. Synergy aerodynamics unlock the door to practical electric flight, and several electric versions are already worked up that can achieve more than 750 mile range on today’s battery technology.

Whether jet fuel, hybrid, or electric, a roomy, affordable personal aircraft supplies a fundamental need: on-demand mobility for small groups, over regional distances. Most species on earth fly, for the simple reason that it is by far the most efficient way to travel. Synergy brings the right innovations to finally make direct, on-demand regional travel a financially sustainable reality for humans.

  • Operational costs can be less than a nickel 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 accommodate a multitude of priorities, such as different ways of loading and entering its spacious interior.
  • Many additional designs are in the works, some even more exciting than the one we are bringing to market first (the one you see here, which we call Synergy Prime.)

Increasing the average door-to-door speed by a factor of five at comparable energy usage increases our habitat (for a given time budget) 25-fold, taking pressure off of highways and cities while improving their character.

A business challenge like no other.

Synergy and its progeny are the future our great-grandparents built 20,000 rural airports for, yet its capabilities reward their foresight with the most daunting business challenge their forgotten industry has seen in decades: extreme demand, but near-zero institutional investment, awareness, or long-term industrial vision in the small aircraft sector. All of transportation put together makes up 1% of where investors put their capital.

A billion cars prove the demand for user-operated, unscheduled private transportation. In 2015, auto manufacturers produced an average of 246,000 vehicles PER DAY.  Today, a phenomenal aircraft success story might reach the stunning volume of… one overpriced, impractical vehicle per day…yet orders still backlog into the thousands. And unlike waiting patiently for your Tesla while driving your Toyota, reasonable interim options for the future smartplane buyer are nil.

This latent demand, acquired during half a century of waiting for affordable personal flight to arrive, requires new thinking. Synergy’s deep investment in ultra-simplified modular design, low cost tooling, and revolutionary process times allow automotive economics, but the hype cycle of exponential demand will never align to a linear pace of delivery. We are tackling that problem foremost by developing brilliant, scalable methods for low cost mass production and by making the case for massive societal investment in the overlooked opportunity of personal flight.

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. Whereas self driving cars are just emerging, self-flying airplanes have been a reality for decades. (There’s literally an app for that.)

Long before mass production can create any potential for significant numbers of people owning aircraft, new regulations and smartplane ™ operator requirements being considered reflect an enlightened regulatory awareness of their potential for increased safety. What holds things up right now isn’t the technologies, nor even the rule book, but rather a lack of investment in creating airplanes that could use them. When growth begins, most of the work allowing responsible deployment of newly demonstrated and certified capabilities will already have been accomplished.

The vast empty skies will stay that way, too. Actually, “air traffic” is a bit of an oxymoron; a concept related to scheduling huge airliners onto the same patch of urban concrete every few minutes. Synergy doesn’t need that costly infrastructure. Even tiny communities already have a number of suitable airfields nobody notices.

Really, the potential for safe, roomy, fast, fundamentally efficient personal aircraft is many times beyond typical estimates, in which the above has been far out of reach. With early adoption will come the realization that a mile of old highway can only take you a mile. In Synergy, a half mile of grass strip can take you ANYWHERE.

A business built to fly

Many today confuse the relatively tame technological risk of new airplane development with the epic business risks that have led to countless prior failures. After mitigating those risks through much time and effort we’ve arrived at a proper launch altitude, on a sensible course, and at a cost that is a small fraction of that already lost by failed contemporaries.

To finally succeed means knowing where things really have been until now and where they are really going. It especially means to not repeat the mistakes of the many who came before. Flexible, adaptive, strategically focused leadership is required. Above all, courage to address the real market and to stop using the customer as a bank while selling them vaporware.

To keep their profound innovations safely headed toward broad adoption, Synergy Aircraft founders continually refined a comprehensive, far reaching plan. To help offset the technology risk, more than a thousand Team Synergy volunteers and financial supporters from around the world united to help John McGinnis and his small team build numerous 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. As garage-level R&D wraps up, we’re searching for the all star team it will take to launch our next secret: the most advanced production scheme yet seen in general aviation.

Now is the time when we gather the resources to transition into a clean, new, high growth startup company. Now is when we want to hear from those who want to see it happen with their capital. Soon, Synergy Aircraft will reveal a new team and a scalable production vision of the same caliber as the airplane…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 investment timelines when done as a cash-burning monster from the very beginning. But not nearly so expensive when supported as a family project, by an amazing group of people who’ve made themselves TEAM SYNERGY. Unfortunately, over the past year we’ve operated with 15% of the required budget, and our physical progress is directly proportionate. On the other hand, the mostly invisible work demanding such extreme time commitment has nearly completed. It’s a good time to get involved. Please note our permanent thanks for your critical support as we prepare to capitalize for rapid growth. Your donations will be used to help preserve this opportunity 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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A Visit to Synergy Aircraft

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Synergy CFD now available to all

Big news! The same incredibly powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics capabilities used by Synergy are now available to outside clientele.


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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Synergy Founder John W. McGinnis gave a presentation titled A Breakthrough In Regional Mobility at TEDx Whitefish 2014. His premise: the fast, quiet,… Read More