Sometimes, while looking at airline timetables, I remember that some people actually have their own private jets. Sigh. Keeping the rest of us plebes in mind, a Montana inventor is at work on a new personal aircraft that's quiet, ultra-efficient and most important - affordable.
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John McGinnis is a composite manufacturer in Kalispell, Mont., who has been interested in aeronautical engineering since he was in elementary school. More recently he's worked with his family on prototyping an aircraft called Synergy that just won a 2013 Popular Science Invention Award.
McGinnis, a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, came up with an innovative "double-box-tail" design for the wings that's intended to increase efficiency and minimize drag. The aircraft is supposed to be three times as efficient as existing small aircraft and get more than 40 miles to the gallon. In addition, Synergy will have an impeller at the back rather than a propeller at the front, which should keep the noise lower.