Kalispell, Montana, isn’t known as a hotspot of aerospace innovation. John McGinnis hopes to change that.
McGinnis unveiled his highly unusual aircraft design this weekend at the CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium in California. “Synergy” compiles quite a few leading-edge aerospace ideas to create an efficient and roomy design. Most notable is the striking “double box tail” that reduces the induced drag, a byproduct of lift that slows an aircraft.
McGinnis told the Experimental Aircraft Association the design is capable of the “glider-like efficiency of a 46-foot wingspan packed into a much stronger 32-foot package.”
A full-size version of the airplane has not yet flown, but a one-quarter scale electric version has been flying for years. McGinnis hopes to eventually use diesel to power the airplane. The prototype is being designed around a 200-horsepower diesel engine that has been in development for many years.
Synergy has a wingspan of 32 feet and it has a total wing area of 144.6 square feet. With a gross weight of around 3,100 pounds, the design currently is shown with five seats.
Aviation history is filled with enthusiastic designs like Synergy, and few ever make it to full-scale prototypes. Fewer still make it into pilots’ hangars. But unlike many predecessors, McGinnis has been careful not to build too much hype until he gets a prototype flying. He hopes the grassroots effort will have the plane ready for a competition this summer.
McGinnis hopes to enter his airplane in the NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge this July. More than $1.5 million dollars is up for grabs in the competition that stresses efficient and practical aircraft designs. But with time running out and lacking any deep pockets to finance the effort, Synergy might not be ready in time.
Images: Experimental Aircraft Association