History and Status
Work began on design of the Synergy Prototype early in
1993. Initial efforts focused on concept definition and market analysis.
The configuration of the vehicle was carefully refined by parametric
analysis. Detailed design tradeoffs were used to compare drivetrain
configurations. Major components were selected and characterized. A
preliminary layout of all systems allowed detailed lofting of aerodynamic
shapes. (The accompanying renderings show this nearly production-ready
lofting). System layouts were refined as required and details were
defined. All design of where, what, and how each system functions was
addressed and incorporated into the CAD model. These systems included:
Primary Structure, Flight Controls, Propeller Drive, Ground Drive and Mode
Selection, Wing Folding (structure, mechanism, control pass-through,
stowage, support), Landing Gear and Handling, Engine Design and
Integration, Doors and latches, Avionics requirements, HVAC, and Lighting.
Requirements for street licensing were addressed. Flight performance was
This detailed design allowed generation of complete
bills of material for the various prototypes and the final product.
Manufacturing plans and costs were based on these detailed parts lists and
designs. Development planning also included creation of a comprehensive
task list and schedule.
Because the design makes use of simple techniques and
common equipment, it was imperative to protect the novelty of the design.
A patent was filed in July 1998 to protect all novel design features to be
incorporated. These included the wing folding mechanism, the methods used
to convert the flight controls to driving controls, the method used to
convert from propeller propulsion to wheel drive, and other miscellaneous
considerations which arise when designing a dual use vehicle. Patent
number 6,082,665 "Roadable Aircraft" was issued on July 4, 2000.
Currently, modeling of various systems is underway and
parts are being procured allowing completion of the initial models and
prototypes. The company has insufficient resources to maintain a dedicated
facility or pay salaries. As such, development is progressing slowly using
part-time volunteer labor of a few individuals.