By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent
"We're building an airplane in a garage, but it's not just another tired old airplane. This is Synergy, the beginning of the future."
With these words, John McGinnis, CEO of Synergy Aircraft, greeted us during AirVenture 2012, adding, "We're building the proof that an airplane can be awesome, comfortable, and incredibly efficient all at the same time."
McGinnis believes that in this second century of flight, families should have options to travel where they want, when they want, in quiet safety, with better economy than with a car - and without the exhausting airport hassle.
That's not today's status quo.
Existing "direct travel" airplanes are extremely expensive, incredibly cramped, noisy gas guzzlers, and most of them are three decades old - or older.
Conversely, they're powerful time machines essential to modern business and a lot of fun to fly.
That is the situation today, said McGinnis.
What is his alternative?
Synergy's team thinks they have new way to tackle the whole problem.
If airplanes are to reconnect with their potential customers - or to their potential for society - aircraft need an update.
Almost everything else in modern life has developed well beyond the elite-yet-obsolete standard of personal air travel.
Consequently, Synergy doesn't just look different, it is different.
According to the company, the systematic use of proven breakthroughs for major drag reduction has been put together for the first time.
Synergy is designed to show triple fuel economy compared to that of an average plane with the same engine power installed.
So, what is Synergy doing differently?
In a Synergy way of thinking the new technology and the airplane needed should provide, at a minimum:
- Far more room;
- A quiet, smooth ride-with a view!
- Greatly improved fuel economy, using better fuels;
- Easier operation;
- Greatly reduced travel time;
- True passenger safety;
- Far lower price;
- Quiet, friendly neighborhood manners;
- And adaptability to hybrid, electric, and advanced engine technologies.
According to McGinnis, Synergy can deliver all of the above - and much more - through innovative solutions that work in greater harmony with the invisible physics of flight.
They claim to build the real thing, using the expert craftsmanship of three generations of the McGinnis family, CNC machines, carbon fiber composites, volunteers from all over the world, and powerful engineering software.
This roomy five-seat prototype will join the amazing 25-percent scale electric prototype already flying.
How does it work?
Synergy's stable-flying double box tail shape is key to using super-advanced drag reduction principles in a lighter, simpler, and more economical way.
Synergy CEO McGinnis gave us the main ingredients of the Synergy project. They include:
- Laminar flow fuselage;
- Laminar flow wing and tail;
- Optimal volume displacement/sub-sonic area ruling;
- Cooling system heat capture for thrust;
- Powered drag reduction-engine air is sucked in designated spaces;
- A multiple-blade propeller behind a laminar body;
- Double box tail creates stability and control by induced drag reduction;
- Constructive biplane interaction between wing and tail surfaces.\
McGinnis added: "All true progress strains against convention. Besides creating 'stability and control through induced drag reduction,' Synergy uses its power not only to make thrust, but also to actually reduce drag.
"It goes faster while carrying more payload in a speed range that has eluded true efficiency so far."
Obviously, getting from "a project in our garage" to a finished airplane in a hangar involves serious business development and millions of dollars investment, so the path ahead of Synergy is a long one.
How long? Only time will tell.
For more information, attend the presentation in Innovation Hangar South, Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m., or go to www.SynergyAircraft.com.