My post a few days ago dealt with two prototype designs for aircraft that can be converted to driving on roads. Today I want to enthuse about an innovative aircraft design which I learned about in AOPA's e-newsletter ~ a design that is being developed just north of me, in scenic Kalispell, MT, a few minutes' drive from Glacier National Park.
Synergy Aircraft designer John McGinnis may join Burt Rutan among the ranks of visionaries who spark a revolution. Synergy is a fixed-wing aircraft, but its double box tail configuration, pusher engine mount, and sleek futuristic appearance make it unlike any conventional fixed-wing GA plane I'm familiar with. (See image above for a view of the plane in flight, and see image below for an overview of passenger seating configuration. Orange shading indicates control surfaces ~ ailerons and rudders. Click to enlarge.) The AOPA article says that Synergy aims to "cut the fuel bill in half for a given horsepower, make it roomy, make it quiet, make it fast, easy to fly, and able to carry five people".
That's just the beginning. Combining half a dozen principles of physics to reduce drag and enhance performance, along with cutting-edge construction and power plant technology, could mean that Synergy will be a quantum leap forward for small aircraft. Click on the website link above for a fuller description of Synergy's advantages and goals ~ don't forget to browse the drop-down menu, especially the 'Images', 'Visual media', and 'FAQs' tabs.
As listed on the home page, Synergy's aim is to provide ~
- more interior cabin room
- a quiet, smooth ride with a panoramic view
- greater fuel economy
- ease of operation
- reduced travel time
- greatly reduced price
- a quiet presence when landing and taking off
- adaptability to hybrid, electric, and advanced engine technologies
Further, Synergy is capable of flying at 200 mph (and hints at faster speeds) ~ placing it in competition with high-performance, high-cost aircraft like the Cessna Corvalis or the Piper Malibu. The provisional service ceiling is 25,000 feet, but test flights have gone much higher.
I'll be interested in learning more technical details as I uncover them ~ fuel consumption rate (Synergy runs on diesel fuel), takeoff and landing distances, rate of climb, max and cruise speeds, cargo capacity, etc. But I gotta tell you, this aircraft makes my mouth water. My current favorite small aircraft, the Diamond DA-40, may be in for some competition.