Crashes CAN Be Harmless (continued)|
Every aviation engineer on the face of the earth should have wanted to know how
the ship's cabin managed to come through that crash in perfect condition.
As a matter of fact, Reichers and the engineer who rode with him, John Murray,
walked out of the ship for a smoke as soon as it stopped plowing up the earth.
They might as well have smoked inside because the gas tanks hadn't even sprung a
That ship was an unusual design. It had a broad, flat fuselage shaped like
a wing. Inside there were seats for 16 people. Both engines were located in
the nose of that single body, with the pilots compartment behind them. The
total weight of the thing was a little over eight tons--with about 1,500
horse-power to pull it. The lines were pretty clean, even by today's
standards, giving a top speed of 250.
The cross sectional dimensions of the fuselage were so generous that the
amazing strength was almost easy to attain. Extruded dural beams and channels
gave the cabin the toughness of a young railroad bridge. The position of the
engines in the nose eliminated the likelihood of their smashing anything but
themselves when the plane hit head first. And that's about all they did
smash--the windshields right behind them didn't even crack when the ship