|Crashes CAN Be Harmless
by George Daniels
Mechanix Illustrated, (Pages 56,57,58,59,140,141)
Airplane fatalities must be reduced. Moreover they can be reduced! There
is absolutely no sensible reason why all efforts toward this end should be
confined solely to preventing the crashes! It is obvious that accidents are
still happening. The job now is to make planes withstand them better. It can
Too many people are killed in airplane crashes. It's about time to realize
that pilots aren't supermen.
Accidents continue to happen and there's no
sense in claiming they can be entirely prevented. The only intelligent
thing to do is to build the planes to withstand as violent a smashup as
Six years ago Lou Reichers was flying a big twin engine, fuselage-lift
transport invented by V.J. Burnelli, when the ailerons came off over Newark
Airport. There wasn't anything wrong with the design of the plane, it was
just one of the things that sometimes happens to a test ship. A handful of
bolts had been left out of the control hinge brackets during the assembly job.
The result was a crash at 2 miles a minute. The big ship hit the ground so
hard that one of the engines landed about 200 yards away.
It was the thirteenth of January when it happened, and the ground was frozen
as hard as a brick, but the wreck plowed a ditch big enough to hide a whale in.