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17 Killed in Montana Plane Crash

According to CNN, 17 “children and adults were among the victims of a plane crash Sunday in Butte, Montana, that killed as many as 17 people, according to authorities in Oroville, California, where the aircraft stopped for fuel.” – read the CNN article.

Aircraft crashes are always unfortunate, and all the more sad when so many children are involved.  What was the cause of the accident?  We can rely on the NTSB to provide us with an answer.  What was the cause of the deaths?  This question will remain unanswered, the implication being that it was the accident that caused the deaths.  But is it necessarily so?  People are involved in car accidents but when there are survivors to a car accident, we do not think of it as a miracle.  We do when it’s an airplane crash.  Why?

Cabin intact after cartwheel crash.
Cabin intact after cartwheel crash.

Cars are designed with crashworthiness in mind. Portions of the car will deform to absorb the energy of a crash and the portion of the car where the passengers are is designed to stay intact.  Airplanes are not.  When you see pictures of a plane crash, you often see only a tail, the wheels, maybe an engine or two but the structure that is supposed to protect the passengers is missing, having disintegrated during the crash – it did not protect the passengers.  See the site for more on this subject.  You may want to look here and here to start.  See our SAFETY page to get a quick understanding why the Burnelli principle of design is superior to the conventional aircraft that we all fly in.

Relevant questions to ask in relation to plane crashes

Conventional v. Burnelli aircraft comparison
Conventional v. Burnelli aircraft comparison

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)