Flying just got easier. A design for a personal airplane with better fuel economy than cars launched at the NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge, where it competed against other ‘green’ aircrafts.
According to the Experimental Aircraft Association, the new “Synergy” aircraft carries up to five people and has a fuel efficiency of 40 miles per gallon. Synergy’s designers boast that the aircraft can achieve 10 times the fuel economy of a small jet at 10 percent of the cost.
Right now the plane is only existent on paper, but the creators are hard at work appealing to online donors, specifically donors at the website Kickstarter. John McGinnis, team leader of Synergy, highlighted Synergy’s benefits on Kickstarter.
In this second century of flight, we believe that ordinary families should have fast options to travel where they want, when they want, in quiet safety, with better economy than a car.
To achieve such good fuel efficiency, the aircraft would be crafted to have a double box tail shape, which reduces the aerodynamic drag that typically slows down aircrafts. The wingspan on the final model will be 32 feet long. Another notable aspect of Synergy is that it would run off of a Delta Hawk bio-diesel fueled engine as opposed to a jet engine, proving to be even ‘greener.’
Early flight tests have been conducted on models one-fourth the size that have lived up to the design’s intentions.
Although no possible speeds or distances have been revealed, estimates say that the goal is for Synergy to run at 100-450 mph and fly for at least 500 miles.
As of May 15th, the Synergy project has earned $3,000, but needs a total of $65,000 for its Kickstarter goal. If they reach that amount, the creators can continue plans into September and hopefully construct the full-size aircraft.
Synergy would not be a car-replacement, but it would make flying much more affordable, especially in this dismal economy. An even bigger outcome might be a new line of more fuel-efficient planes and jetliners inspired by Synergy.