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Synergy in flight

Comfortable, fast, and cost effective:  Synergy is a new class of airplane.

A Remarkable Breakthrough

Synergy_wideSynergy Aircraft exists to commercialize new technologies for modern personal aircraft. Our first smartplane, Synergy Prime, is a beautiful new taste of a practical future for aviation. It’s a safer, faster, more comfortable six seater that obliterates prior limits for performance with economy.

As with any genuinely revolutionary discovery, there is far more to the story than meets the eye. We warmly invite you to join us in learning more about the key innovations that are helping to shape the future of flight.



Getting Started

At regional distances, personal transportation has never been fast, nor economical, nor efficient. Door to door speeds are as abysmal for airlines as they are for driving, and even private jets can’t offer the comfort, payload, and go-anywhere utility achieved with the family automobile. Big jets demand sprawling infrastructure and deaf neighbors.

There’s a better way. Synergy brings a systematic approach to dramatically reducing the energy cost and noise of flight at higher airspeeds. Through its brilliant aerodynamics, direct flight at 6x the speed of ground transportation becomes just as affordable as driving. Fifty times as many communities than are served by commercial carriers already have suitable neighborhood airfields, thanks to Synergy’s quiet takeoffs and slow landings.

The patented advantages that give Synergy its exceptional stability, speed, and control (through major drag reduction!) also allow it to be dramatically more comfortable and spacious for up to seven people. And safer, thanks to its inherent stall resistance and excellent low speed handling.

These attributes are the right foundation for successfully applying existing and new technologies for smartplane communications and autonomy. The result, in turn, is an unprecedented business pathway from niche market success to mass market viability, in which the only missing ingredients needed are our simple, low cost airframe structures that can be mass produced.

We want to do, for airplanes, what Tesla Motors did for electric cars. We’re at the garage prototype level now, but we have a Roadster-like niche of opportunity to create tremendous growth and value. That will result in a viable certified production ala Model S, and a future demand that dwarfs all static market projections.

We believe that simple aircraft built on the right foundations -both in business and design- are a beneficial investment in mobility and quality of life.

Group travel in our comfortable, affordable smartplanes™ would be faster and more economical than any other form of regional transportation.

At Synergy Aircraft, we understand that for personal airplanes to reconnect with their potential customers, or realize their potential benefit to society, they must provide:

  • A more spacious cabin.
  • A quiet, smooth ride.
  • Far greater economy, using common fuels.
  • Easier operation; i.e. nontraditional operator requirements
  • Slow landings at tiny local airfields.
  • Advanced smartplane(TM) autonomy.
  • Far lower price.
  • Greatly reduced travel time.
  • True passenger safety.
  • Quiet, neighborhood manners.
  • Adaptability to hybrid, electric, and other advanced engine technologies.
  • High volume manufacturing.

Synergy is creating the first aircraft that can achieve all of these benefits. We are working the entire problem at once: fundamental flight physics, human factors, and industrial economics. Because our first example solves one of the largest shared problems in the modern world, we are utterly committed to bringing it to life. We appreciate your interest, and we welcome the assistance of everyone who believes it is long past time for the modern airplane to arrive.

General Aviation, the Next Generation

Fuel Efficient

Synergy is three times more fuel efficient than most General Aviation aircraft.


Synergy uses brilliant physics to achieve twice the expected speed for a given horsepower.


Due to its turbocharged rear engine, laminar-flow aerodynamics, and submarine-like tail fan, Synergy is far quieter than other aircraft.


Synergy has a spacious six-seat interior, yet a smaller total size than a two-seat trainer.

Synergy Prime: A leap forward in the ratio of energy used, for the momentum obtained.

Synergy in flightSomething known since the 1950s, yet hardly acknowledged, is that even though some airplanes fly at very low speeds efficiently, and others fly at very high speeds efficiently, all prior aircraft waste enormous amounts of energy to fly in the mid-subsonic speed range.

The present economics of on-demand regional aviation are abysmal from first concept to final flight. This controlling fact underlies all of the superficial reasons why people don’t have their own airplanes, and it traces to a singular physical issue.

The problem is the way that existing aircraft (don’t fully) deal with aerodynamic drag. Through its comprehensive, patented design, Synergy became the first aircraft to directly attack the hidden issues causing the problem, then simultaneously apply six of the most advanced drag reduction technologies to fix them.

One key is its distinctive Double Boxtail™” wing-becomes-tail configuration. (Similar-looking but inferior “box wing” ideas have been rejected for decades because they’re unstable, structurally vulnerable, and create interference drag.

In contrast, Synergy’s DBT configuration provides rock-solid stability with greater strength and without interference drag. It achieves this stability and its naturally coordinated turn control by reducing the dominant cause of drag at lower speeds, higher weights, and higher altitudes, which is called “induced drag”.)

Unlike every boxwing design, the twin horizontal tails -above and behind each wingtip- aren’t ‘wings’ to make more lift. In fact, these moving ‘control surfaces’ actually create a downward force most of the time.

Putting the right amount of this downward force in the right place above the wingtip reacts against ‘induced drag’ so well that it actually reduces the total drag, much like a sailplane reduces its total drag by adding wingspan.  Some think of it like origami: folding up a long wing in 3-D space to help achieve stable, high-speed flight…while carrying a lot more useful load than a glider.

Our abundant flight surfaces increase safety. The DBT configuration allows safer low speed handling, lower landing speeds, and a demonstrated stall prevention and recovery technology aimed at stamping out the number one cause of small airplane accidents.


Synergy tails are just the beginning… but a key to unprecedented improvements

Synergy’s unique ‘tail on the wings configuration’ provides many amazing benefits related to stability and high “span efficiency,” leading to excellent low and high speed performance. Eliminating unnecessary length allows less-visible technologies for laminar flow, pressure thrust, and boundary layer control to provide yet higher speeds with economy.

These features in combination provide the 8x improvement required for Synergy to double the speed per HP of General Aviation.

Our turbocharged jet-fuel diesel engine, ballistic parachute, and next-generation, self-flying smartplane ™ electronics are other key technologies to help lower barriers to personally operating an airplane. Future versions accept many options for energy source and powerplant, because the fuselage is accommodating.

Synergy aerodynamics unlock the door to practical electric flight, and various electric versions are already worked up that can achieve more than 750 mile range on today’s battery technology, through speed as much as through endurance. Electric cars can’t do as well as airplanes in this regard due to low speed limits on the ground.

Whether jet fuel, hybrid, or electric, a roomy, affordable personal aircraft supplies a fundamental need: on-demand mobility for small groups, over regional distances. Most species on earth fly, for the simple reason that it is by far the most efficient way to travel. Synergy brings the right innovations to finally make direct, on-demand regional travel a financially sustainable reality for humans.

  • Operational costs can be less than a nickel per passenger-mile. 
  • Thanks to its tiny number of simple, modular parts, the design is able to scale into low cost mass production, and to adapt in its details to accommodate a multitude of priorities, such as different ways of loading and entering its spacious interior.
  • Many additional designs are possible.

Increasing the average door-to-door speed by a factor of five at comparable energy usage increases our habitat (for a given time budget) 25-fold, taking pressure off of highways and cities while improving their character.

A business challenge like no other.

Synergy and its progeny are the future our great-grandparents built 20,000 rural airports for. Ironically, its capabilities reward their foresight with the most daunting business challenge their forgotten industry has seen in decades: a potentially extreme new market demand, yet near-zero institutional investment, existing-player awareness, or long-term industrial vision in the small aircraft sector. All of transportation put together makes up 1% of where investors put their capital. Negativity abounds.

Yet a billion cars prove the latent demand for ‘user-operated, unscheduled private transportation.’ In 2015, auto manufacturers produced an average of 246,000 vehicles PER DAY, more than 10,000 per hour! Today, a phenomenal aircraft success story might reach the stunning volume of… one overpriced, impractical vehicle per day. Meanwhile, orders for new airplanes typically backlog into the thousands before deliveries begin. Unlike waiting patiently for your Tesla while driving your Toyota, reasonable interim options for the future smartplane buyer don’t exist, so the customer is hungry and tired of waiting.

This half century wait for affordable personal flight to arrive calls for new manufacturing thinking when it does. Synergy’s deep investment in ultra-simplified modular design, low cost tooling, and revolutionary process times allow automotive economics for the first time.  Therefore we are developing brilliant, scalable methods for low cost mass production.  The demand we’ve created among an eager 3%, ‘the innovators’ who together with early adopters ‘move the mountain’ of new opportunity, easily makes the future case for massive societal investment in the overlooked opportunity of personal flight.

Positive regulatory progress is already happening swiftly in response to the safety and cost advantages of smart, semi-autonomous technologies for simplified operations in small aircraft. Whereas self driving cars are just emerging, self-flying airplanes have been a reality for decades. (There’s literally an app for that.)

Long before mass production can create any potential for significant numbers of people owning aircraft, new regulations and smartplane ™ operator requirements are already being considered that reflect an enlightened regulatory awareness of their potential for increased safety. What holds things up right now isn’t the technologies, nor even the rule book, but rather a lack of airplanes that can properly use them. As a modern, yet traditional airplane, Synergy fits into the existing regulatory context. When growth begins through investment, most of the regulatory work needed to begin using the latest technologies will already have been accomplished. These will gradually introduce lower and lower barriers to personally operating your own Synergy.

The vast empty skies will stay that way, too. Actually, “air traffic” is a bit of an oxymoron.  Our need for ATC and sprawling airports comes primarily from scheduling huge airliners into the same central location every few minutes. This concentration is artificial, as each passenger arrives from, or is headed to, a destination somewhere in the 32,000 square miles such airports funnel from. Most travelers actually spend 71% of their travel time on the ground. Synergy doesn’t waste that time, or need that costly infrastructure, or even pavement. Every tiny community already has suitable airfields nearby, ready and waiting for your direct, unscheduled, group departure.

Really, the potential for safe, roomy, fast, fundamentally efficient personal aircraft is far beyond typical estimates, in which the above has been far out of reach. With early adoption will come the realization that a mile of old highway…or the latest hyper loopy boondoggle…can only take you a mile in one dimension. In Synergy, a half mile of grass strip can take you to and from ANYWHERE.

A business built to fly

To keep this innovation safely headed toward broad adoption, Synergy Aircraft founders adopted a comprehensive, far reaching plan. To help offset the technology risk, more than a thousand Team Synergy volunteers and financial supporters from around the world united to help John McGinnis and his small team build numerous prototype Double Boxtail™ aircraft… starting, naturally, in his father’s garage!


This intentionally ‘grassroots effort’ permitted thousands of engineering challenges to be met without the risks, distractions, or ‘shortcut-itis’ brought by premature business hoopla.  As garage-level R&D wraps up, we’ve started the transition into a high growth startup company, by completing our merger into DBT Aero, Inc.

It’s been more than a lifetime since aviation captured our collective attention. It will take a perceptive long-term effort, in well-managed phases, to deliver its true potential. Making it possible in this case is a product concept with the required demand and profitability to reward large scale investment at each level of adoption, and a tenacious, inspiring vision. We invite your interest with appreciation.

Fuel the Team

Announcing DBT Aero, Inc.

To offset a number of typical startup risks, we began R&D long ago as a family project, with the support of more than a thousand volunteers and contributors from around the world. Now, working with Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe we’ve set up DBT Aero Inc. to take things powerfully forward with a great team. We are very thankful for the extraordinary support we’ve received for this epic undertaking, and we look forward to launching this next phase together. Let’s do this.

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