Something 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.