Winner Of NASA’s Green Flight Challenge Continues Development
A new design in private aircraft might offer fuel efficiency better than many automobiles. Synergy Aircraft is developing a single-engine design that carries up to five passengers with a fuel efficiency of 40 miles per gallon, according to a posting on the EAA’s site. The aircraft’s designers say it can achieve ten times the economy of a small jet at ten percent of the cost. This design won NASA’s 2011 Green Flight Challenge, and the people behind the new design are hoping to make the aircraft a reality by soliciting online donors at the crowd-funding site 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," said John McGinnis, team leader of Synergy, in the Kickstarter project description.
Live Science reports that the key to the design’s efficiency is the double box tail. This element reportedly reduces induced drag while the overall design utilizes laminar flow, wake propulsion, open thermodynamics and subsonic area ruling to achieve superior fuel economy. Flight tests with a scale model one-fourth the size of the real thing have already shown promise.
While no cruise speed goal has been disclosed by the Synergy team, the designers are aiming for something capable of 100-450 mph and a flight range of at least 500 miles. The 32-foot wingspan aircraft is powered by a Delta Hawk Bio-diesel engine. (Image courtesy Synergy Aircraft)