The East Hampton Star, East Hampton, Long
July 2, 1964,
VINCENT J. BURNELLI
An American Pioneer aircraft designer will be recorded in
history for his outstanding contributions to aviation development.
This is attested to by the Smithsonian Institute, United States
Patent Office, the Early Birds, the Quiet Birdmen, Institute of
Aerospace Sciences, etc. A large number of aviation firsts were designed and
built by him, among them the first "lifting fuselage"; the
first great American airliner; the first air freighters; the
first multi-engine aircraft with retractable landing gear; the first flat-metal
stressed-skin construction in American aircraft design; the first reduction
to practice of the breakaway leading edge in conjunction with high
lift flaps (currently used on most high-speed jet craft).
Vincent Burnelli was to have received the Billy Mitchell bronze medal
award on Sunday, June 21st, 1964, from a group of Long Island Early
Flyers assembled at the Sea Spray Inn to honor his creative genius. A heart
attack on Friday at the Sea Spray, from which he never recovered,
prevented his receiving it.
He died fighting for the just rewards due him, but denied by
bureaucracy in this "land of the free and the home of the brave."
His aircraft proved time and again in official wind tunnel tests and
actual flying performance to be far superior in
inherent safety features, speed, weight carrying ability. It cut
landing speeds in half on less than half the needed length of
runaway; BUT, when the booming lend-lease aircraft business came
along in the 1937-1939 era, Burnelli was unable to compete with
entrenched conventional airframe manufacturers who were quickly
subsidized by the Pentagon. Gen. H. H. Arnold, for example, stated;
"In my opinion it is essential, in the interests of national
defense, that this Burnelli procurement be authorized."
UB-14's pilot, Lou Reichers wrote in his book "The Flying Years" in
1956: "Vincent Burnelli... still has the most efficient design, but
his competitors have all the business."
manufacturer's senior executive wrote: "we know Burnelli airplanes
are superior and we would love to build them but the Pentagon won't
let us, and we can't afford to bite the hand that feeds
predicted that the flying would be reality by 1947, offering greater
speed, greater roominess, greater safety. An associate of Mr.
Burnelli said: "indeed it should have been, and would have been had
it not been for outright dishonesty, conspiracy and restraint of
trade deliberately practiced by individuals in the Department of
Defense and N.A.C.A."
the "land of the free and home of the brave... With liberty and
justice for all."
brief review is written by a fellow flyer and tribute to a very
great American in the hopes that others will realize how bureaucracy
has retarded American aviation and flight safety, and will wake up
to the menace of growing bureaucracy all along the governmental