It was early April, 2006. I was surfing the Net, not really looking for anything in particular. I found this site called aircrash.org, something about lifting bodies, lifting fuselages and a man named Burnelli. What I stumbled upon has profoundly changed the direction of my life.
Shortly after my discovery I was inspired to start building Burnelli models. At first they were static models and then I built an RC model of Burnelli’s last design before his death in 1964, the GB-888 which flew beautifully. My passion and curiosity led me to interview people wherever my travels took me and to tell anyone who has an interest in aviation about Burnelli.
In 2007 I moved to the Austin, Texas area and last year I found out about the Central Texas Air Show held in Temple, Texas, which I knew to be the birthplace of Vincent Justus Burnelli and just up the road! So this year I took my planes, pictures and PowerPoint presentation to the air show in Temple. The Wings Over Texas hangar where we’d been having the volunteer meetings was offered to me for free. It was not in the main area of the air show but this turned out better than I could have ever dreamed.
Almost everyone involved in making the show possible came to a dinner in this hangar. Almost 300 people passed through the food line that was only 10 feet from my presentation. I’d also talked to the Temple Daily Telegram before the show, explaining what I was doing. Incredibly, the story made the front page! Many who’d seen my presentation and then read the story probably wished they’d have taken a closer look when they had the chance, maybe next year – I’m workin’ on it – but in the meantime, there’s the newspaper article, this website and the aircrash.org site to satisfy their curiosity.
Larry Pope – Austin, TX area
See the RC model here: