Whatever happed to Synergy by McGinnes?

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rtfm

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He and his rather striking plane seem to simply have dropped out of sight. Is it a thing? Has he given up on it? Has it flown?
 

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Marc Zeitlin

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He and his rather striking plane seem to simply have dropped out of sight. Is it a thing? Has he given up on it? Has it flown?
Don't be silly. Everything's going great! See here:


Coming to an airport near you soon - either IC or Electric - most efficient aircraft ever.
 
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Looks like the new web site was last updated about 6 months ago and they are now in Utah, or at least incorporated in Utah. The new location is a lot closer the the last know site of the Raptor. Could there be some of that kind of 'synergy' brewing?

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No mention of a new Kickstarter or Gofundme page?
 

jedi

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Photo taken recently in an undisclosed Pacific NW location appears to be a 1/4 scale flight test model. Does anyone know more about the history of model testing of Synergy.
 

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sonex293

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Lots of build pictures on their Facebook page. Although last updated in March..

 

plncraze

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I hope it flies and I hope that they get good data. When you see the contributions of other homebuilts that get studied seriously (Varieze in the wind tunnel, Bellanca Skyrocket2 by NASA and the Wittman Tailwind by Raspet) you get some new data about what works.
 

PagoBay

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Don't be silly. Everything's going great!
Coming to an airport near you soon - either IC or Electric - most efficient aircraft ever.
Cool Design. Would love to see it fly. BUT -- Marc Z has it right.

I exchanged emails with McGinnis, the original designer, a few times over these many years. And I wrote the DBT Aero team when they took over management of the Synergy project.

I pointed out how the language they use, like McGinnis did before, continues to repeatedly describe as proven performance what is actually only based on computer models. See their home page.
McGinnis for years and years said he was unwilling to take in investors. WHY?? The design was so revolutionary that no outside funding source could be trusted. A DECADE later, and no flying prototype. NOW PRESENTING --- DBT Aero, a "Seed Stage Company". Oh yeah.

While the prototype is taking shape slowly, the only thing that flies is a decade old RC Model. Here is a bit of history from Synergy FB page SIX Years back:
Synergy Aircraft 3 August 2016 -- John will be taking calls on Wednesday for any who would like to follow up with him regarding our goal to complete the prototype now, not later. We need more than our leftover time and profits to pull it off.

For unknown reasons, the planned, paid for, and shipped to the shop, and much admired and photographed DeltaHawk Diesel engine has been scrubbed from the Synergy history. No mention of why. The new plan is as Mark points out "IC or Electric".

For comparison, look at the Dark Aero composite LSA taking shape in a just amazing short time. Undergoing final engineering tests before first flight. The Dark Aero brothers also do all their designing by computers. The practical execution, though, is light years apart from the Synergy project.
 
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BJC

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For comparison, look at the Dark Aero composite LSA taking shape in a just amazing short time. Undergoing final engineering tests before first flight. The Dark Aero brothers also do all their designing by computers.
Agree that DA is going about their design / build work in a much more realistic way than some other projects. However, it is interesting to note their unrealistic expectations when they first displayed at Oshkosh.

They were “almost ready to fly” four years ago. See Oshkosh 2019


BJC
 

rv6ejguy

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The Karl brothers diluted their work time with other projects (composite classes, new production facility etc.) which delayed first flight a couple years. Only the future will prove if this was a good idea or not. I would have got the prototype in the air first and worry about production later. That said, impressively thorough planning, engineering and structural validation compared to projects like Raptor and Synergy.

Maybe 2 years spent on production planning now will save 2 years in the end as far as getting kits to customers.

Anyway, Synergy has taken a decade to go nowhere near as far and the claims are only slightly less optimistic than Raptor IMO. It will be many more years before it flies, if ever.
 

Voidhawk9

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I find it curious the number of new kit / homebuilt developers that are jumping straight to production molds etc. before flying a prototype first. Gambling on getting it just right first time seems like a big gamble indeed. Have any of the big successes done it this way?

The Rutan canards had prototypes that differed somewhat from the final plans designs (though no molds here - one could argue they are all built like prototypes).
Vans has demonstrated again this year that they build prototypes first (see RV-15) to refine the concept before going to production.

The 'direct to production' concept was tried during the cold war to save money and get new aircraft online quickly. Didn't work to well - early models tended to not be combat useful (see F-105 for example - F-105Bs were never considered for combat use, despite quite a number being produced).
 

rv6ejguy

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I find it curious the number of new kit / homebuilt developers that are jumping straight to production molds etc. before flying a prototype first. Gambling on getting it just right first time seems like a big gamble indeed. Have any of the big successes done it this way?
Yup, that would be my big concern. If you have to make major changes, the molds go in the trash.
 

Victor Bravo

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Some of the text from their homepage linked above (my highlight):

3x greater Fuel Efficiency allows for aviation fuels and SAF today, Electric or Hydrogen in the future

Achieves 2x the expected Speed for a given Energy Input (Fuel Burn) through Proprietary Drag Reduction

A far quieter aircraft is realized by utilizing rear propulsion, laminar-flow aerodynamics and lower prop tip speeds

Our laminar flow fuselage creates a larger, more spacious cabin than competing aircraft

Wow... just can't wait for the opportunity to put a deposit down on this. I'll have to get my deposits back from Bede, Moller, and Muller first.
 

daveklingler

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Last time I messaged McGuinnis, which was years ago now, he said (IIRC), that he hadn't had time to work on his personal project (the five-seater rather than the larger aircraft shown in the link above), because his main business was keeping him busy and he didn't have the funding to stop working. Many months had passed since he'd touched it, and I noticed in a shop photo that the plane had a thick coat of dust.

He also posted somewhere (here or Facebook) that there was his personal project, and there was a commercial project, and he would talk about his personal project when it was flying. He said in several places (like Oshkosh) that he didn't want to take investors for the Synergy until he got a little further because he couldn't say for certain what the real world performance would be.

I guess all that remains is for somebody to stop by his shop and pester him. His original project is pretty far along, according to the Facebook photos. I'm pretty curious to find out how the plane performs. I can see by looking at it why he called it "Synergy". It's elegant and clever. Does the elegance help?

I've had excellent ideas that failed because I was afraid to take investors, even after I put years of effort and all the money I had into them. I can sympathize. I would suggest that anyone loudly scoffing at those who work hard and then don't succeed set out to do something themselves, and maybe they'd gain an appreciation for the effort and sacrifices involved. Easy to down beers and sit on your a** and spout off, isn't it? Better to wait and buy the guy a beer if you're ever in Kalispell.
 
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rv6ejguy

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I think what most people have a hard time with is the certainty that McGuinnis talks about the performance of his design which has never flown. Always a risky thing for your future reputation. Synergy WILL revolutionize aviation and that existing designs are so inferior. Bold talk from an unproven designer in high performance aircraft and shades of Peter Mueller/ Raptor. Much better to keep your mouth shut, build the thing and fly it, proving to the world how smart you are compared to other aircraft designers.

This sounds a LOT like PM/ Raptor in the early days: 2013 Invention Awards: Family Flier with nearly a decade passing since then. The Future of Aviation, Crafted in a Home Shop - Flathead Beacon

It doesn't cost millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a composite prototype and it shouldn't take a decade either if you're serious and dedicated. Production kits are another matter and much bigger hurdle, but the proof of concept prototype is the first step in the process.

We've seen this movie many times before and the ending is usually pretty much the same as these projects fade into obscurity. Hope I'm proven wrong as it's an interesting concept. Time for Synergy to get built and flown to prove us skeptics wrong...
 
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BJC

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We've seen this movie many times before and the ending is usually pretty much the same as these projects fade into obscurity.
A few high profile examples:







I’m sure that there are several more.


BJC
 

TFF

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I remember sitting I’m my bosses office at the airline and a buddy,of his from A&P school, came in. After they yucked it up for a while, it came down to business. The guy was from Adam and was in charge of writing the maintenance program and was totally lost on the scope to do that task. I don’t think there was any collaboration although they were both amicable to it.
 
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