What the Establishment Has Said
In order to destroy any credibility in the Burnelli principle, the Air Force (Army
Air Corps) has done whatever it could to smear the capabilities of Burnelli aircraft going as far
as falsifying reports. You'll see below that this trend was suddenly reversed in 1995 when the
advantages of the Burnelli Principle of design are vaunted.
1941--U.S. ARMY AIR CORPS BOARD OF REVIEW REPORT
(Signed by a group of Officers) on the conclusions page states:
"The Committee recommends that the Air Corps inform both the Central Aircraft Corporation and V.J.
Burnelli Airplanes, Inc., and any other concern which may later possible become interested in the
Burnelli 'lifting fuselage', that this design is of no interest to the Air Corps and that for
this reason, no further correspondence, consultations, or reviewing of data embodying this design
will ever again be considered by the Air Corps or the Materiel Division."[Emphasis added. ed: why "ever again"?]
(S.R. BRENTNALL was Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps, Chief of Engineering Operations, Engineering
Division.) in a letter to the Central Aircraft Corporation (a prior name of The Burnelli
"While many advantages may be claimed for this combination of lifting fuselage with jet
engines, the principle benefits claimed with lifting type fuselage design have been achieved on
AAF aircraft by use of stream- lined bodies upon which low drag rather than high lift has
been emphasized. It is to be further pointed out that the lifting type fuselage has a relatively
low critical speed which definitely limits the future development of this type airplane.
Such limitation is not desirable in view of the AAF requirements for extremely high speed
1950--K.B. WOLFE, USAF
(K.B. Wolfe was Lieutenant General, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff, Materiel) in a letter dated
October 2, 1950 to Congressman Paul J. Kilday (House) he wrote:
"This airplane has had a rather controversial background and warrants a restudy in order that
factual information be made available."
1952--ROSWELL L. GILPATRIC, USAF
From the office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force came a letter addressed to attorney
Francis T. Carmody which states in part:
"From my personal knowledge of the aircraft program, I doubt that there is any place in it for an
airplane of the Burnelli design, and I do not believe that, even if I directed a further
consideration, it would do any good. If your people are insistent on reopening the subject with
the Air Force, I can arrange an appointment, but I do not think it would serve any useful
1955--MAX GOLDEN, USAF
(Department of the Air Force, Office of the Assistant Secretary, Max Golden was Deputy for
Procurement and Production) in a Memorandum for the Asistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative &
Public Affairs) after listing points a. b. & c. of the 1941 Report, he states:
"3. In the years subsequent to the 1941 Board of Review, numerous variations of the very
same "lifting-wing" Burnelli design have been submitted to the Air Force for consideration.
However, no substantial change in the basic design of these aircraft has been introduced since
the original proposal. They have varied principally in size, minor details and engine
installations. 4. The Air Force policy has been, and still is, to give Mr. Burnelli every opportunity to
compete in meeting Air Force requirements for materiel. At the present time, however, there is no
known military requirement for an airplane of the type proposed by Mr.
1961--DAVID B. PARKER, U.S. Army
(Department of Defense, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of
Transportation David B. Parker was Colonel, TC, Director of Research and Development) in a letter
to Chalmers H. Goodlin dated October 25, 1961, he states in part:
[In referring to a study of lifting-body
"Subsequently, however, this concept was discarded in favor of other approaches and
develpments which were deemed to offer more potential."
1964--PERRY M. HOISINGTON II, USAF
(Department of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary, Major General Perry Hoisington II was
Director, Legislative Liaison) in a letter to Senator Kuchel dated March 31, 1964, he states:
"In summary, the Department of the Air Force, on behalf of the Department of Defense, feels that
every possible effort has been expended to explain to Mr. Burnelli and his associates that the
concept has been thoroughly and fairly evaluated by the Department and it has been concluded that
the concept is technically without merit and not susceptible to military application."
1964--THOMAS G. CORBIN, USAF
(Department of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary, Thomas G. Corbin was Brigadier General,
Deputy Director, Legislative Liaison) in a letter to Senator Kuchel dated May 18, 1964, he states
"Dr. Eggers of NASA has successfully demonstrated that the theory may be applied to the
construction of an aircraft. Our position is simply that the Department of the Air Force,
on behalf of the Department of Defense, feels that every possible effort has been expended
to and fairly evaluated by the Department, and we have concluded that the concept is
not susceptible to military application .... we in the Air Force must rely upon our own technical
judgments in such matters."
After condemning the lifting-body principle for decades, the Air Force is happy to be
flying F-117s, B-2s, F-14s, F-15s etc, all lifting bodies! And
announced belatedly in 1995 that configurations embracing the Burnelli principle had the
(Ken Luplow is a retired Boeing Senior Vice-President):
"I recently sent a clipping that
I saw in Aviation Week to Pete Gifford, which, in effect,
vindicated the Burnelli design by virtue of its present day look
alikes such as the F-117, the B-2 , and the
ill fated A-12 which has just been cancelled. .... One of these
days the Burnelli design will be recognized for its inherent
merits and perhaps be awarded some monetary recompensation as
well. Let's hope so."
(McDonnell Douglas, BWB Program Manager, Advanced Systems and Technology) in an information
packet regarding the 'Blended Wing Body' published circa March 1995:
"The resulting configuration resembles the Northrop B-2, and offers dramatic improvements in
aerodynamic and structural efficiency. Projections indicate a fuel-burn saving of 28% relative to
a conventional double-deck transport of equivalent technology."
(Director of New Technologies for the Airbus Industries consortium) in an article in
Aeroports magazine (June 1995 issue) entitled: "Flying Wing: Airbus Industrie Reveals
All" is quoted as saying:
"The single large wing offers, for the first time, the possibility of an aircraft in which
all of the control vectors are directed upwards all therefore helping to provide lift... [Aircrash editor: "for the first time?" / emphasis added]
Another advantage of the flying wing is the relationship between maximum payload and maximum
take-off weight. With a classical design the ratio is 30%. With a flying wing it is more than
40%, an enormous leap ...
...its aerodynamic performance is between 10% and 25% better, despite a wetted surface 56% higher
and a coefficient of lift lower than that of a traditional wing (but in which the drag is lower
... the cost per kilometre of passengers carried is 15% lower ...
1997--NASA "FACTS ON LINE"
(Document #FS-1997-07-24-LaRc / http://oea.larc.nasa.gov/PAIS/BWB.html)
"With many applications for BWB technology envisioned--from commercial transports, to cargo
aircraft, to very-long-range military airlifters--the tecnology required for the BWB may be the
key to realizing continued increases in aircraft size and efficiency.
Advances made in the pursuit of the Blended-Wing-Body will provide new technologies for future
aircraft, helping the U.S. aircraft industry to successfully compete in the 21st century."