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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 the supercar and the airliner.

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 multimillion dollar 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.

Yet 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 the transition from project to product development as we work to increase our available resources 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 all prior aircraft waste enormous amounts of energy to fly in the mid-subsonic speed range. The problem is aerodynamic drag. Through its comprehensive, patented design, Synergy is the first aircraft to 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 low speeds,  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.

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 all present estimates, in which the above has been out of reach.

But will we tolerate the status quo of ‘antique and overpriced’ airplanes indefinitely? Clearly, a principal challenge to this vision will be for society to recognize the latent demand acquired during half a century of waiting for personal flight to arrive, and then to act (again) at the required scale with renewed optimism. Even though Synergy Prime and its progeny are the future our great-grandparents built 20,000 rural airports for, the irony is that its capabilities present a forgotten industry with the largest business challenge it has seen.

Many today confuse the relatively tame technological risk of new airplane development with this epic business risk, in which simplistic trial-and-error navigation through the minefield of big-money choices leads to predictable but spectacular failures. To prosper requires that participants learn, more accurately, where they are and where they are going, but especially to not repeat the mistakes of the many who came before.

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 and investment are helping us to continue building that momentum. Once the completed prototype makes our case fully public, Synergy Aircraft will reveal a team and a plan 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.

Support our Team!

How on EARTH are you doing this?

Designing and building a completely new aircraft prototype from scratch is expensive. Far too expensive, in fact, 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. Even as we respond to future business opportunity, volunteers still power this adventurous movement forward! Supporters join the Wall of Fame when they back our Team volunteers with their generous donations, of any size. Proceeds received are augmented by Synergy Aircraft and the McGinnis family to ensure that we meet the needs of our student interns and numerous volunteers as we unite to get things done.

Facebook Feed

John writes: "I just returned from an inspiring conference with NASA and FAA officials working to roadmap the future of On-Demand Mobility. All the right topics were covered, and all the right attitudes were present in abundance. Many thanks to Wes Ryan of the FAA for representing one of the most effective and forward-thinking organizations in all of aerospace. Yes, you read that right. Change cannot happen overnight, but profound changes are already well underway, and the FAA is leading the way. Mark Moore and Ken Goodrich from NASA Langley put a fine team together and got outstanding participation from a diverse group of innovators working to bring smarter new technologies to the table, and no one in the room was afraid of the work ahead of them. It was awesome." ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago  ·  

When drag equals weight, an object can be suspended against gravity as long as the stream of air and skill allows. Or until someone spoils the fun! Reijer Kolle, fluid magician. ... See MoreSee Less

3 months ago  ·  

What's possible when you get the fluid dynamics right: a four ton animal as long as Synergy that can make 56 km/h in water. If it was a bird that slick it would be faster than most piston aircraft. ... See MoreSee Less

[SHARE] AMAZING VIDEO: Think they need a bigger boat? Orca whales are caught on tape chasing a speed boat in the Pacific and it's an awesome/scary sight to see! WOW, just wow!

5 months ago  ·  

The beauty of Northwest Montana and the power of Synergy are compelling reasons why so many are engaging with us to make personal, on-demand regional transportation a reality. ... See MoreSee Less

Not sure if you heard, but The Road is fully open! (jwf)

5 months 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