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Heading Bug – Aeronautical Innovation, Old Tech Space Flight and Paying Attention

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August 2012


Your magazine was created in the world of monthly print publications and says August on the cover. Meanwhile, I write over Memorial Day weekend as a tropical storm named Beryl is coming ashore 50 miles or so east of where I sit, as winds of 11 on the Beaufort Wind Scale are recorded along the northern Florida coast.

It is raining harder and blowing more than I have ever seen in almost two years living in the Sunshine State. So it’s fitting that I tell you more about Sir Francis Beaufort of the Admiralty and his system of estimating wind strength—later.

 Two events on my mind, for widely different reasons, concern a new airplane design from Synergy Aircraft and the successful voyage of Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) Corp.’s Dragon to supply the International Space Station (ISS).

Synergy Aircraft of Kalispell, Mont. is working on what could be called a “futuristic” project to build an airplane that uses what has been called “breakthrough” technology. With a 1/4-scale remote-control prototype flying, the company—family owned and run by John McGinnis—works out of a garage in that clichéd American tradition of inventiveness. The project has been getting lots of press (Wired, Gizmag, Designboom and more) outside of aviation. Praised by everyone from the EAA to the CAFE Foundation, there is reason those of us related to aviation might want to take notice.

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