Is John McGinnis The Next Burt Rutan?
Part 1 By John Ylinen
Aviation has always had its share of dreamers and innovators, and from those people have come some of the largest leaps in technology, aerodynamic efficiency, and safety. At Air Venture last week, a young aerospace engineer conducted presentations at the innovation forum on his vision for the future of aviation. This person is John McGinnis from Kalispell, MT and he has a dream called Synergy Aircraft.
In this second century of flight, he believes that ordinary families should be able to quickly travel where they want, when they want, in comfort and safety, with economy surpassing the present automobile. That's not how it is right now. Existing personal airplanes are extremely expensive, incredibly cramped, noisy gas guzzlers; most of them three or four decades old. On the other hand, they're powerful time machines; indispensable to modern business and a lot of fun to fly!
His project is about fixing the underlying problem. If airplanes are to re-connect with their potential customers- or their potential to society- they desperately need an update. Almost everything else in modern life has developed well beyond the elite-yet-archaic standard of personal air travel.
What if your automobile had not changed since the 1950s, or your cell phone since the 1980s which is what has happened personal travel general aviation.
John thinks that in addition to all the best new technology, airplanes should provide, at a minimum:
- Way more room.
- A quiet, smooth ride... with a view!
- Far greater economy, using common fuels.
- Easier operation.
- Greatly reduced travel time.
- True passenger safety.
- Far lower price.
- Quiet, neighborhood manners.
- Adaptability to hybrid, electric, and advanced engine technologies.
Synergy doesn't just look amazing, it truly is amazing; the first systematic application of six proven breakthroughs for major drag reduction that will be discussed in part 2. These principles haven't been put together in a form simple enough to deliver their liberating potential... until now.
Designed to show ten times the fuel economy of a small jet at ten percent of the cost, Synergy not only offers fast, fun transportation (in comfort above the weather) but also greater range and the ability to land at safer, slower speeds on local airfields. In its category (100 to 400 mph) it is widely considered the most promising aircraft design yet seen. His initial prototype will be a 5 place design, but McGinnis says it could go up to 20 people. Current fuselage could be 1+2+2 or 1+2+3. It will have a whole airplane ballistic parachute and an emergency auto land capability from Vertical Power. It will utilize the Deltahawk 4 cylinder 2 stroke diesel engine, but could be hybrid or electric as those propulsion systems mature.
Up until now; General Aviation, and more specifically personal aviation, has not delivered for the general public the promises of the 1950s with a dream of a plane in everyone’s garage. Synergy’s goal is to make personal aviation a reality in the 21st Century with new designs that are like SUVs. If successful, he could also fundamentally change the way that people travel with point to point air taxi services and other transportation businesses not even envisioned.
If you want to be a part of the dream and help John complete his prototype go to his web site and click on his donate button. He also has a project on Kickstarter and raised over $95,000. He needs over 2 times that to get the dream to fly, so you can still contribute and have your name on his first aircraft, along with other recognition.