The Burnelli Web Site
Today's design choices =limited chances of surviving a crash
America's first executive airliner, the Burnelli CB-16The Burnelli Conspiracy (continued)

Burnelli was probably the hottest item in American aviation then. I remember well his frequent appearances in the press, and I made models of his planes as a boy. Though I did not recognize their importance at the time, they were significantly less complicated to build than the conventional designs of the day. The extraordinary performance of theUB-14Bcaught the eye of the English, and Burnelli negotiated a license agreement with them to produce British-built variations of the aircraft. This enabled him to obtain a RFC loan of $250,000 to expand his Keyport, New Jersey factory. Burnelli entered fighter and fighter/bomber variations of this design in Army Air Corps competitions in 1939 and won three of  them, hands down, based upon exciting NACA wind tunnel tests and Wright Field's enthusiastic recognition of his design superiority. In 1939, General "Hap" Arnold advised the Secretary of War that . . . 

. . . "In my opinion, it is essential, in the interest of national defense, that this Burnelli procurement be authorized" . . .
 Shortly after, Burnelli was invited to the White House to witness President Roosevelt's signing of a directive for many Burnelli airplanes to be built for the Army. Unfortunately, fate again intervened. When Roosevelt learned that Burnelli's financial backer was Sun Oil Company's Arthur Pew, a staunch Republican foe, Burnelli's team was escorted from the Oval Office into orchestrated oblivion. No contracts emerged, and even worse, a secret Army report was issued denigrating the Burnelli concept.

VJB & Unident. Standing in front of UB-14 circa 1935Although Burnelli managed to sign a license agreement with the Canadians to build a larger Burnelli design, the most odious pressures were brought to bear. His RFC loan was recalled, for no apparent reason, and he had to sell his tooling and equipment in an attempt to survive. He could not pay his loyal workers and was forced to see them being swept up by his competitors. Arthur Pew told him there was no hope as long as Roosevelt was in power and put Burnelli on the payroll of a Pew-controlled shipping company as a consultant to await FDR's fall . War broke out, however, and the accent was placed on aircraft production--any aircraft, as long as it was not a Burnelli! As a result, this great genius of American Aircraft design was forced to vegetate during the years when his designs could have saved thousands of lives and billions of dollars!!!

(continued...)

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