The position maintained by officialdom, that most accidents are caused by pilot error, may be correct, but it ignores the more fundamental and important question which asks:
“what are most fatalities due to?”
There is ample evidence that:
“most fatalities are caused by the irresponsible common practice of hanging engines and landing gear onto fuel tank supporting structure in combination with excessively high take-off and landing speeds on overstressed tires.“
And when the question regarding the cause of most fatalities is answered, the next question becomes:
“Why do we continue to build and fly aircraft that have such low survivability rates in case of crash, when an alternative exists and has existed for over eight decades?”
Is it because the current large commercial aircraft manufacturers do not want to make an investment in new technology or is it because an alternative (Burnelli Lifting-Body technology) wasn’t invented by them (Not Invented Here syndrome) or is it because Burnelli was blackballed (and continues to be blackballed) by certain elements in this country since many decades?
What do you think?
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“Moving the landing gear inboard and strengthening the fuselage to absorb the shock of landing would eliminate applying stress to the fuel tank supporting structure. This revision of the commonplace has been accomplished in the Burnelli “lifting wing” design. Another feature of this latter type aircraft is the shifting of fuel tanks so that they are not in direct line with the power plants and their exhaust outlets.”
– George H. Tryon, III (Secretary of the National Fire Protection Association, in the Quarterly of the National Fire Protection Association (Vol 40, No. 4) of April 1947 on page 264.
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Relevant links to review:
Crashes Can Be Harmless – Mechanix Illustrated article (1935)
palpcasoApril 5, 2009
This is a great website. I am curious, though, is anybody writing a book about Mr. Burnelli and his amazing aircraft. I’d read on http://www.geocities.com/equipmentshop/nexthercules.htm that Mr. Ernest Zavala was writing about Burnelli aircraft but I have been unable to find any information. Keep up the good work.
adminApril 7, 2009
Thanks for the kuddos! We too had heard that Mr. Zavala was writing a book but he has consistently pushed back the publication date so don’t hold your breath. Maybe someone else will beat him to it!?