The Burnelli Web 

Today's design choices =limited chances of surviving a 

The Burnelli Conspiracy (continued)

In 1943, General "Hap" Arnold was concerned by the political stifling of the Burnelli design and took the logical approach that American pilots were being forced into inferior aircraft. Therefore, he requested the highly regarded Colonel Harold Hartney of World War I, 94th ("Hat In Ring") Aero Squadron fame, to conduct a complete survey of the Burnelli situation for insertion into the Pentagon files. Colonel Hartney enlisted the aid of the great Dr. Max Munk, who did an in-depth comparison of the Burnelli design with the one considered as "conventional". On safety, he concluded:

General H. H. Arnold

"The superior performance of the Burnelli plane is not, in any way, obtained by sacrificing a low landing speed. On the contrary, the Burnelli plane has a lower wing loading and, in consequence, will land much slower than the conventional plane. It is doubtful whether the high landing speed of the conventional plane makes it suitable for commercial operations."

Hartney himself wrote Arnold:

"Regarding safety, wing loading has been going up at such a dangerous rate of late that an effort of some kind must be made to stop it. With increased wing loading, the impact in a crash from greater speeds mounts up so rapidly that the chances of passengers surviving diminishes about as the square of the increased pounds per square foot loading, something most distressing which few seem to appreciate. I recommend that you direct a memorandum to the joint war production committee suggesting that planes of the Burnelli type be put on the integrated program of requirements. In making these recommendations I submit you will, by so doing, be making an attempt to secure safer airplanes and obtain less expensive airplanes."

Burnelli's hopes that when Roosevelt died all would be forgotten, and his lifting body genius would be widely recognized, proved to be unjustified. The military/industrial/political complex, firmly entrenched during the war, sank its roots deeper, and the conventional manufacturers, utilizing taxpayer-financed design criteria, imposed higher and higher take-off and landing speeds on the traveling public. In early 1948, ALPA President David Behnke told congress that:

"The current trend to higher wing loadings constitutes a hazard to safe flying. The airlines are looking to Rube Goldberg devices and excessive braking action in an effort to bridge the gap between the inadequacy of our airports and the hot performance characteristics of the planes."
[Ed: See also ALPA letter to FAA of 1961]

In spite of professional testimony like this, the manufacturers locked into an inferior design criterion and, concerned over infringement of the Burnelli patents, kept increasing wing loadings and consequent take-off and landing speeds until they achieved V- 2 speeds over 175 knots in the DC-10 and Boeing 747. Simultaneously, with no restraint from the F.A.A. or the Flight Safety Foundation, they commenced installing fuel tanks underneath the passenger seats in the fuselage. All this, in spite of the fact that they were notified by the tire manufacturers that tire technology was already stretched.