Meet the Aircraft with the Fuel Economy of a Car

Half futuristic sailplane and half fighter jet, this five-seat Synergy aircraft is the first example of a new technology for fuel efficient airplanes.

A Kickstarter campaign was launched and has been funded to continue with the full scale prototype, John McGinnis the man behind this aircraft believes that days when flying have always been more expensive than driving yourself are numbered.

The Synergy aircraft can take up to five people and will do an average of 40 mpg, the designers also claim that the aircraft will have 10 times better fuel economy that a regular small jet. Carbon fibre composites and CNC machines are used to build the aircraft, which is to come with steady-flying double box tail shape, this will ensure increased drag reduction and make the design simpler and lighter. A Delta Hawk bio-diesel fuelled propeller engine will power the 32-foot wingspan making the aircraft more energy-efficient and faster.

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91 comments

  1. Stephen Clark 3 years ago

    Kickstarting: Engineer Seeks Cash For Family-Sized, Low-Cost AirplaneKickstarter is a new model in funding ideas, but is the sky really the limit?John McGinnis may or may not be a little crazy.He’s a designer, a manufacturer of composite products, and a self-proclaimed expert in fluid dynamics. But beyond a few profiles on experimental aviation sites, the only resume he’s offering the world is the Synergy, his aircraft that promises “10X the economy of a bizjet with greater range, at 10% the price.” It’s currently raising funds on Kickstarter.As a kit plane, the Synergy wouldn’t be such an anomaly, except that it bucks conventional aircraft design: It doesn’t actually have wings. Instead, the Synergy deploys McGinnis’s own invention, a “double box” tail that he calls a “modern magic carpet,” promising groundbreaking reduced drag to create “a big, fast, roomy airplane with double the usual speed or triple the usual economy.” This is no ultralight. McGinnis says the final product would be roughly the size and cost of a luxury SUV, but the plane would actually get better gas mileage. It’ll run on diesel.“There are millions of pilots and millions more who’d like an excuse to [fly every day]. Flying an airplane is the easy part, and it could be a whole lot easier if we weren’t 90% occupied with nursing our obsolete tech through the air,” McGinnis tells Co.Design. “Think about what [aviation would] be like if we went back to 1973 and put airplanes on the same track we put our telephones on.”To McGinnis, that track is a plane in every garage, the Jetsonsonian future we all long for, the thus far fruitless desire that squeezes at least one flying car on the cover of Popular Science each year.There’s just one catch, and it’s the catch we always see in this industry: The plane hasn’t been built yet. Right now, McGinnis has a ¼ scale R/C model in the air, and he’s raising money to build a full-scale prototype. And while there’s at least some debate as to whether or not his concept could actually work as advertised, there is no one to confirm nor call BS on the design (Kickstarters are no more aerospace engineers than Co.Design writers.)Yet the idea is resonating all the same. The project has already raised half of its $65,000 goal. And most interestingly, McGinnis is raising funds, not from people who expect to land a five-seater plane for a $250 deposit, but from enthusiasts–dreamers, even–who are are willing to just give away their money to see such a plane developed. A $10,000 deposit will get you no closer to the cockpit than a $10 one.“We’re building a prototype, not taking orders for vaporware,” McGinnis says. “How about we create a company that can live up to unprecedented demand first, that doesn’t beg their customers to front their risks in advance and then never delivers the goods?”McGinnis’s project is simultaneously inspiring and depressing. On one hand, we’re all drawn to the possibility of a brilliant garage inventor out-designing industry giants. But on the other, what the heck is everyone doing in the aviation industry, if McGinnis’s vision is remotely possible? And should such highly specialized technical designs be up to all of us normal people to gamble on?If I fund one of Kickstarter’s clever iPhone cases, worst case scenario is that it just doesn’t fit my iPhone quite right. If I fund McGinnis’s plane, worst case scenario is that a plane actually crashes. But I guess, that’s exactly why the Synergy has been designed with a nose-to-tail rocket-deployed parachute.Synergy Double Boxtail Aircraft Projecthttp://www.fastcodesign.com/1669851/kickstarting-engineer-seeks-cash-for-family-sized-low-cost-airplane?utm_campaign=home&utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=exchange&partner=pinterest

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  2. Jukka Takamaa 3 years ago

    Now there is everyman’s solar powered AC coming up; http://max3fan.blogspot.com !

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  3. Michael Thompson 3 years ago

    Kickstarting: Engineer Seeks Cash For Family-Sized, Low-Cost AirplaneKickstarter is a new model in funding ideas, but is the sky really the limit?John McGinnis may or may not be a little crazy.He’s a designer, a manufacturer of composite products, and a self-proclaimed expert in fluid dynamics. But beyond a few profiles on experimental aviation sites, the only resume he’s offering the world is the Synergy, his aircraft that promises “10X the economy of a bizjet with greater range, at 10% the price.” It’s currently raising funds on Kickstarter.As a kit plane, the Synergy wouldn’t be such an anomaly, except that it bucks conventional aircraft design: It doesn’t actually have wings. Instead, the Synergy deploys McGinnis’s own invention, a “double box” tail that he calls a “modern magic carpet,” promising groundbreaking reduced drag to create “a big, fast, roomy airplane with double the usual speed or triple the usual economy.” This is no ultralight. McGinnis says the final product would be roughly the size and cost of a luxury SUV, but the plane would actually get better gas mileage. It’ll run on diesel.“There are millions of pilots and millions more who’d like an excuse to [fly every day]. Flying an airplane is the easy part, and it could be a whole lot easier if we weren’t 90% occupied with nursing our obsolete tech through the air,” McGinnis tells Co.Design. “Think about what [aviation would] be like if we went back to 1973 and put airplanes on the same track we put our telephones on.”To McGinnis, that track is a plane in every garage, the Jetsonsonian future we all long for, the thus far fruitless desire that squeezes at least one flying car on the cover of Popular Science each year.There’s just one catch, and it’s the catch we always see in this industry: The plane hasn’t been built yet. Right now, McGinnis has a ¼ scale R/C model in the air, and he’s raising money to build a full-scale prototype. And while there’s at least some debate as to whether or not his concept could actually work as advertised, there is no one to confirm nor call BS on the design (Kickstarters are no more aerospace engineers than Co.Design writers.)Yet the idea is resonating all the same. The project has already raised half of its $65,000 goal. And most interestingly, McGinnis is raising funds, not from people who expect to land a five-seater plane for a $250 deposit, but from enthusiasts–dreamers, even–who are are willing to just give away their money to see such a plane developed. A $10,000 deposit will get you no closer to the cockpit than a $10 one.“We’re building a prototype, not taking orders for vaporware,” McGinnis says. “How about we create a company that can live up to unprecedented demand first, that doesn’t beg their customers to front their risks in advance and then never delivers the goods?”McGinnis’s project is simultaneously inspiring and depressing. On one hand, we’re all drawn to the possibility of a brilliant garage inventor out-designing industry giants. But on the other, what the heck is everyone doing in the aviation industry, if McGinnis’s vision is remotely possible? And should such highly specialized technical designs be up to all of us normal people to gamble on?If I fund one of Kickstarter’s clever iPhone cases, worst case scenario is that it just doesn’t fit my iPhone quite right. If I fund McGinnis’s plane, worst case scenario is that a plane actually crashes. But I guess, that’s exactly why the Synergy has been designed with a nose-to-tail rocket-deployed parachute.Synergy Double Boxtail Aircraft Projecthttp://www.fastcodesign.com/1669851/kickstarting-engineer-seeks-cash-for-family-sized-low-cost-airplane?utm_campaign=home&utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=exchange&partner=pinterest

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  4. A1soldiersaint 3 years ago

    I have to say that I just don’t see much in this airplane. It really doesn’t incorporate concepts new to aviation, although it is very unique when compared with the current crop of kit aircraft. The pinnacle is the lancair evolution turbine imho, and I would love to see a viable canard wing aircraft that could compete and not look so much like a white football while doing it. There are several good low performance canards already.

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  5. NightSky777 3 years ago

    I guess you tried to pack a lot of video in 4 mins, but the slide show was waaaaay too fast –add at least .25 sec’s to each! As for the plane/project, really cool. I’m guessing this is NOT an Light Sport Aircraft plane given the 4 passenger seating and retractable landing gear.. As such, got any ballpark Sales price ranges?

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  6. John Mulhall 4 years ago

    I would have preferred a verbal narrative to the annoying music and all the hype at the beginning of this video. Clean looking design though.

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  7. Cássio Rodrigo Peluso 4 years ago

    Great project… I am just worried about engine’s cooling system without a cold ram air direct hitting the engine, if you know what I mean. How do you keep the engine within the operational optimal temperature?!

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  8. koenvndcmp 4 years ago

    What moddeling programm did they use?

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  9. Ed Mack 4 years ago

    I built a RC plane I designed virtually identical to this when I met my wife, that was 33 years ago. I sold it in Ft. Lauderdale Fla… Hmmmm I wonder? However I’m sure someone probably designed the same 33 years before me as well

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  10. TheBlackSheep 4 years ago

    sorry, but G.I. Joe/ Cobra already flew this 30 yrs ago!

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  11. John Shonka 4 years ago

    So you’re telling me ( the pilot ) that someone in the back seat of my aircraft can push a button and initiate an autopilot protocol to take control of my aircraft and land it. Great if I am incapacitated – a federal offence if I am not.

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  12. Cuthbert Cream 4 years ago

    … *Turns on Kerbal Space Program*

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  13. DrZeeebra 4 years ago

    cute design!

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  14. DumbDuck44 4 years ago

    Problem with pushers is that they don’t blow air under the wings at low speeds, and as such tend to suck at landing and takeoff. Pushers also tend to lose some efficiency.The biggest problem these days though is not so much cost of ownership, but initial purchase price. Someone needs to figure out a way to produce a good performance but most importantly CHEAP aircraft preferably that meets LSA license certification if general aviation is to see a resurgence.

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  15. leon nicaeus 4 years ago

    das is schon geil

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  16. matt Demirelx 4 years ago
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  17. Lance Winslow 4 years ago
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  18. Lance Winslow 4 years ago

    Now that is one bitchen design, Wow! That must get a lot of looks and I’d love to fly one. #EAA #ExoticDesign #FutureNextGen

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  19. Toan Chan Le Van 4 years ago
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  20. SuperYellowsubmarin 4 years ago

    Aaaand besides of the look, what reason is there not to “close” the upper wing ?!

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  21. Олег Фадеев 4 years ago

    Оригинально, но, мне кажется это только начала новой аэродинамики.

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  22. matt Demirelx 4 years ago
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  23. TecnamTwin 4 years ago

    I still think the Velocity TXL-RG looks better. It’s a baby Starship. This definitely shows promise. I’d like to see how it stacks up to the very efficient and good-looking Pipistrel Panthera as well as some of the Lancair models. One pilot on centerline with 4 passengers in tow: Hmmmm… I’d put the rear seats in club configuration. It’s better to talk to people’s face than to the back of their head; or they could get a crick in their neck constantly turning around. Anyway, great job!

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  24. Devin square pants 4 years ago

    saw this in popular science…

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  25. TecnamTwin 4 years ago

    I can’t hear the plane because of the music.

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  26. sidnewsound 4 years ago

    beautiful design. Innovative and surprising. The design recalls the concept of the “14bis” developed by pioneer Santos Dumont.

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  27. robajohnson 4 years ago

    Just curious, what’s wrong with turbo diesel?

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  28. dodgykernt 4 years ago

    so this is basically a modern version of the wright flyer..

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  29. Forest Ka 4 years ago

    verticalpower (dot) com/vp-400/

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  30. djcahill4 4 years ago

    What’s the latest on this bid? The concept seems very plausible. Hope it’s not another Prescott Pusher.

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  31. TonyHerstal 4 years ago

    REAL GOOD

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  32. Paul Statchen 4 years ago

    With the new shape changing materials… wings could “fold” into the fuselage hidden and clean…

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  33. Ayhan ÖZDEN 4 years ago
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  34. klyde338Lapua 5 years ago

    What a huge let down! Gees you might have finished the damn plane and flone it before you teased me with that wood veneer interior!

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  35. Özgür Çayır 5 years ago

    #Synergy #Aircraft Kickstarter Project (Video):Also read more at their Kickstarter profile : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/launchsynergy/synergy-aircraft-project#aviation

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  36. Noah Favaregh 5 years ago

    i hope you guys can bring some excitement back to the 2+ market. will you offer it as a kit?

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  37. mctubed 5 years ago

    See deltahawkengines (dot) com. Synergy is designed to showcase future electric and hybrid technologies and works well with a variety of liquid-cooled engines.Target groundspeed: ‘faster than the other guys on less horsepower, at less fuel burn’ will have to do for now. We have studied the matter to the point of 100% commitment, whereas the less qualified one is in the premise behind open thermodynamic design, the more likely a critic. We’re building an unassailable response to the question.

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  38. mctubed 5 years ago

    There’s always a joker around… This time he was caught on camera doing ‘unauthorized modifications’ 😉

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  39. Justin Martin 5 years ago

    3:38. Taht surely doesn’t look like a pusher…. Is that prop just for sizing purposes?

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  40. Rob K 5 years ago

    I don’t know about that jaw dropping. It is unusual but there’s nothing new on this plane. All of the features have been tried before. So, spare us the marketing nonsense in the beginning and change the annoying music.

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  41. Whatever, Google. 5 years ago

    Not exactly. The Synergy is a REAL AIRPLANE.

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  42. Sylvain Duford 5 years ago

    Nice video of the Synergy Aircraft project, looks like they are making good progress ont he full-scale prototype.

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  43. djcahill4 5 years ago

    What’s the prop diameter? What would a limiting diameter for safe rotation be?

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  44. Brandon Dillon 5 years ago

    Very kewl!

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  45. cwchawt2000 5 years ago

    Am keen to work for synergy . cwchawt2000@yahoo.co.uk

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  46. Beerpig 5 years ago

    This is the most beautiful aircraft I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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  47. FreeLion007 5 years ago

    That must be quite a button, to be able to fly the plane around terrain to the best available runway.

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  48. FreeLion007 5 years ago

    That must be quite a button, to be able to fly the plane around terrain to the best available runway.

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  49. Justwantahover 5 years ago

    What sort of engine is that!

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  50. Justwantahover 5 years ago

    What sort of engine is that!

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  51. pumpiniron74 5 years ago

    Looks good but there are no numbers. How does it perform? How fast does it cruise, how slow does it stall, how much runway does it need, how many G’s can it handle, what is the useful load?

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  52. Pilot16H 5 years ago

    Disappointed to read turbo diesel is the target engine. Otherwise, looks very interesting. Would love to hear at least a ballpark ground speed from 6,000-15,000 feet.

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  53. Pilot16H 5 years ago

    Disappointed to read turbo diesel is the target engine. Otherwise, looks very interesting. Would love to hear at least a ballpark ground speed from 6,000-15,000 feet.

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  54. M Simon 5 years ago

    Blogged it at “Classical Values – Box Tail”

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  55. 5 years ago

    Blogged it at “Classical Values – Box Tail”

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  56. msimon6808 5 years ago

    Blogged it at “Classical Values – Box Tail”

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  57. Justwantahover 5 years ago

    It looks good. Joined wing is a strong design. I also have some joined wing aircraft concepts on my channel (and I would love you to build my “Whirlwing” VTOL concept). You could build a single seater Whirlwing out of an “Heli-Cycle” helicopter kit and add three-blade rotor, joined wing and thrusters and use your amazing body-work to build it. Please see the best VTOL concept on You Tube, the Whirlwing (also easiest to build). We have to push limits beyond our mental limitations (cheaply)!

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  58. Justwantahover 5 years ago

    It looks good. Joined wing is a strong design. I also have some joined wing aircraft concepts on my channel (and I would love you to build my “Whirlwing” VTOL concept). You could build a single seater Whirlwing out of an “Heli-Cycle” helicopter kit and add three-blade rotor, joined wing and thrusters and use your amazing body-work to build it. Please see the best VTOL concept on You Tube, the Whirlwing (also easiest to build). We have to push limits beyond our mental limitations (cheaply)!

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  59. MrLeehusttle 5 years ago

    I would love to buy one of your planes! what license would I need? A sports aircraft license?

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  60. MrLeehusttle 5 years ago

    I would love to buy one of your planes! what license would I need? A sports aircraft license?

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  61. MrLeehusttle 5 years ago

    When are you posting a more recent video of the finished aircraft and a flight video?

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  62. MrLeehusttle 5 years ago

    When are you posting a more recent video of the finished aircraft and a flight video?

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  63. Patrick Brown 5 years ago

    every time I see this project all I can think of is, if Martin Whitmarsh or Ron Dennis from the Formula 1 team McLaren, were to get a hold of this project, the technology a McLaren hands would see this your project blossom. I just know he’d love love it, keep pushing…..

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  64. 5 years ago

    every time I see this project all I can think of is, if Martin Whitmarsh or Ron Dennis from the Formula 1 team McLaren, were to get a hold of this project, the technology a McLaren hands would see this your project blossom. I just know he’d love love it, keep pushing…..

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  65. batnball69 5 years ago

    every time I see this project all I can think of is, if Martin Whitmarsh or Ron Dennis from the Formula 1 team McLaren, were to get a hold of this project, the technology a McLaren hands would see this your project blossom. I just know he’d love love it, keep pushing…..

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  66. SepiaDragoonGR 5 years ago

    Hey that’s just a modification of the X-49 Night Ravenand for those of you who don’t know it google it

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  67. SepiaDragoonGR 5 years ago

    Hey that’s just a modification of the X-49 Night Ravenand for those of you who don’t know it google it

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  68. mctubed 5 years ago

    1. Art Now by Alex Beroza2. The New Music by Alex Beroza

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  69. mctubed 5 years ago

    1. Art Now by Alex Beroza2. The New Music by Alex Beroza

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  70. João Pedro Torres 5 years ago

    Um avião que usa só 10% do combustível de um jato convencional… feito em uma garagem! Inspirador.

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  71. henrymhp 5 years ago

    Great idea and nice video !Btw, what’s the name of the first song??

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  72. henrymhp 5 years ago

    Great idea and nice video !Btw, what’s the name of the first song??

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  73. fndtomas 5 years ago

    Oh great job ! Pretty nice design ! It looks inspired by the first airplane 14-Bis. Alberto Santos Dumont would be proud of you guys ! Keep doing

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  74. fndtomas 5 years ago

    Oh great job ! Pretty nice design ! It looks inspired by the first airplane 14-Bis. Alberto Santos Dumont would be proud of you guys ! Keep doing

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  75. drtattoo09 5 years ago

    Being a RC pilot for over 35 years I can tell from the flight video that this is a very stable and easy to fly aircraft. Kudos!

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  76. drtattoo09 5 years ago

    Being a RC pilot for over 35 years I can tell from the flight video that this is a very stable and easy to fly aircraft. Kudos!

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  77. Mark Warren 5 years ago

    Looks great

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  78. mctubed 5 years ago

    Not only does it have a ballistic parachute (and up to three pilot seats) but it has a push button emergency landing system that can fly the plane through the clouds, around terrain, and onto the best available runway.

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  79. mctubed 5 years ago

    Not only does it have a ballistic parachute (and up to three pilot seats) but it has a push button emergency landing system that can fly the plane through the clouds, around terrain, and onto the best available runway.

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  80. Orbital Horizon 5 years ago

    #Synergy #Aircraft Kickstarter Project (Video):Also read more at their Kickstarter profile : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/launchsynergy/synergy-aircraft-project#aviation

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  81. SolarizeYourLife 5 years ago

    Fantastic, I hope to see more and hope you add a parachute in the design, it saved many lives.

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  82. SolarizeYourLife 5 years ago

    Fantastic, I hope to see more and hope you add a parachute in the design, it saved many lives.

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  83. Bryan Dimas 5 years ago

    Insanely Great

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  84. 5 years ago

    Insanely Great

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  85. pinche1994 5 years ago

    Insanely Great

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  86. Gary Johnson 5 years ago

    *Synergy makes an aircraft with the breathtaking fuel efficiency of 40mpg* Its designers claim that the aircraft can provide *10x’s better fuel economy than a small regular jet*. In other words, the owner will have to endure only 10 percent of the usual cost of flying a jet. Designer *John McGinnis*, states Synergy has mesmeric power efficiency that will even beat our cars down in mileage. The Synergy project was introduced in NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge and is in look for an initial financial support of *$65,000 on Kickstarter*.+NASA +AirplaneMart.com +Aircraft World #airplane +Kickstarter +Kickstarter Junkie #kickstarterprojects

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  87. Tyronne Clarke 5 years ago

    *Synergy makes an aircraft with the breathtaking fuel efficiency of 40mpg* Its designers claim that the aircraft can provide *10x’s better fuel economy than a small regular jet*. In other words, the owner will have to endure only 10 percent of the usual cost of flying a jet. Designer *John McGinnis*, states Synergy has mesmeric power efficiency that will even beat our cars down in mileage. The Synergy project was introduced in NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge and is in look for an initial financial support of *$65,000 on Kickstarter*.+NASA +AirplaneMart.com +Aircraft World #airplane +Kickstarter +Kickstarter Junkie #kickstarterprojects

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  88. Sebastian Mathai 5 years ago

    Synergy aircraft is a personal airplane with better fuel economy than cars———————————————————————————————Flying in the air has always been costlier than having a ride on road in a car. But it seems that the scenario is for an immediate overturn or so claims designer John McGinnis, the man behind the innovative Synergy aircraft. The current evolution of aircraft engineering gives us enough confidence to think so. We have earlier told you about Yuneec electric sport airplane prototype priced at around $89,000, and the highly fuel-efficient Pipistrel’s Panthera four-seater airplane. The compact of the lot is this small passenger airplane, called the Synergy with a mesmeric power efficiency that will even beat our cars down in mileage. The Synergy project was introduced in NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge and is in look for an initial financial support of $65,000 on Kickstarter.Fuel consumptionThe promising Synergy aircraft can take up to five people on board with a breathtaking fuel efficiency of 40mph per gallon. Its designers claim that the aircraft can provide 10 times better fuel economy than a small regular jet. In other words, the owner will have to endure only 10 percent of the usual cost of flying a jet. The journey in the revolutionary aircraft will be spectacular with enough room, clam and smooth ride experience and an easy operation, Synergy Aircraft brags on its Kickstarter page.Technical highlightsThe Synergy Aircraft team under the highly proficient aircraft designer John McGinnis has been working hard to bring this into reality. A Delta Hawk bio-diesel fueled engine will power the 32-foot wingspan. This propeller engine other than a jet engine rocks a big role in making the aircraft energy-efficient and faster. The aircraft family of McGinnis has not yet revealed the potential top speed of Synergy. Anyway, it may get a speed from 100mph to 450mph.The team utilizes carbon fiber composites and CNC machines to build the aircraft with stunning fuel efficiency. The aircraft is to come with steady-flying double box tail shape, which will ensure increased drag reduction and make the design simpler and lighter. Well, the aircraft industry is waiting for the magic product with huge enthusiasm. Leading aeronautical gurus and NASA scientists are following the updates about the flight with nervousness. Being a senior member of AIAA and an expert aircraft designer, we have no reason to doubt the word of John McGinnis regarding the Synergy Aircraft.Aerodynamic designWhat it is more stunning with the Synergy is its aerodynamic design and adaptability to hybrid, electric and other advanced engine technologies. According to Synergy team, the airplane is not at all about looks, aesthetics and streamlining, in spite of having a unique aerodynamic design. Beyond everything, it is all about fuel efficiency, speed and cost effectiveness, they claim. Perhaps, in future we can find Synergy as a prominent member among the new generation of day to day air transportation systems like the for Terrafugia’s Transition those who have the moolah.The Synergy team now looks for an initial development cost of $65K on Kickstarter. Of course, it is only a primary cost and the company will require more funds to wind up the project. As of writing this, around 50 donors have backed the project on the fund-rising site with a $3,409 with 18 days to go.

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  89. trigger638 6 years ago

    Impressed, a great looking aircraft. This is the one for me. Well done.

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  90. trigger638 6 years ago

    Impressed, a great looking aircraft. This is the one for me. Well done.

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