|The Burnelli Conspiracy (continued)
The C.A.A. also remonstrated with Burnelli for his use of the retractable landing gear in the CB-16, citing it as being not only a hazard, but also a serious maintenance problem. Obligingly, Burnelli returned to fixed gear in his UB-20 in 1930. This was the first aircraft in the world to employ the use of flat metal, stressed skin construction.
About this time, the potential of commercial aviation was beginning to penetrate conservative thought, so Burnelli, with his partner, Ingliss Uppercue of New York Cadillac note, decided to build the UB-14 in competition with the Douglas DC-2. The UB-14 turned out to be a very impressive airplane, and, in spite of the deep economic depression, it attracted serious attention in the U.S. and abroad. Unfortunately, at that time, Uppercue suffered disastrous financial losses and was unable to fund the original marketing and production program. Despite this setback, Burnelli was able to sell an executive version to his old friend, P.W. Chapman, but disaster struck on the delivery flight. In the excitement, the maintenance crew forgot to attach the aileron hinge bolts and here is what happened:
Extract from Report of Louis T. Reichers Test Pilot, Re: crash of UB-14, January 13, 1935
Fortunately, Burnelli recovered from the disaster and, before long, had the UB-14B flying with two newer P&W 750HP Hornet Engines. This aircraft had an empty weight of 9,250 lbs. and a gross weight of 21,500 lbs., with a cruising speed of over 200 MPH.