The Burnelli Web Site
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April 4, 2000

Another self-serving, safety-ignoring push by BOEING.

Boeing, whose twin-engined B-777 is in heated competition with Airbus's twin and four engined aircraft, wants to extend the range their aircraft can stray from landing strips on long-haul over-water flights. As it stands, the FAA has set that range at three hours (180 minutes) flight time under a rule called ETOPS (Extended range Twin-engine OPerationS). In other words, if a twin engined plane like the 777 flies over water, it must at all times remain within three hours flight time from a landing base.

Three hours is already too much. Boeing wants that number extended by another 27 minutes to 207 minutes. First, most people don't realize that the three-hour limit is:

"...calculated according to the aircraft's recommended, single-engine speed in zero-wind conditions. The proposed 207 min. limit does not take into account headwinds, which frequently can exceed 100 kt. in the North Pacific. Actual time to reach an airport could be as long as 5 hours - with one engine failed, strong headwinds, and if pilots cannot or choose not to fly the remaining powerplant at the maximum continuous power setting." (Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 20, 2000, p. 52)


Boeing 777 - Has the largest, most powerful engines of any commercial jetliner because it only has two.One hour of flying on one engine is an eternity, let alone three, four or five. Another factor not accounted is the stress the pilots are placed under and any cascading problems due to the first engine failure. For example, Air Safety Week ( of August 9, 1999 on page 4 & 5 runs a scenario of multiple mechanical failures:

"Foul weather below 20,000ft. Winter in the Northern Pacific. In this case, the engine loses a fanblade, which forces an immediate shutdown. Even so, the now-unbalanced blade assembly freewheeling in the air causes the entire airplane to vibrate violently. As Airbus' John Lauber said, the vibration means not a few moments of fear, but hours of gut-wrenching anxiety. The cockpit crew has not experienced anything like it in the simulator. Passengers may be really frightened; some may panic.

The bad day gets worse. The bleed air and the generator on the remaining engine are lost. Unable to maintain cabin pressurization, or heat the aircraft must descend to 10,000 feet, which will put the airplane into bad weather. With the loss of cabin heat, the once comfortable 77-degree Fahrenheit temperature plummets in the space of an hour to about -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The same temperature will prevail in the unheated cockpit, too. Passengers are now in an unheated cabin that is vibrating severely. As back-up generating power fails, the crew cuts power to the cabin bus and the lights go out.

The divert airfield does not respond to repeated calls on the satellite telephone. In any event, the divert airfield has neither the vehicles nor the facilities to disembark and protect 200+ passengers from the frigid winter weather. The airfield also is depending upon off-site rescue and firefighting resources (ARFF), which are not contacted because of the communications breakdown.

After struggling through unexpectedly heavy headwinds flying at 10,000 feet, the airplane arrives in a critical fuel state, with no time for a go-around. In addition, hydraulic and electrical systems failures have deprived the crew of flaps, slats and anti-skid brakes. The high-speed landing causes all tires to blow out and the aircraft skids off the end of the runway. All aboard die from exposure to the bitterly cold Arctic winter conditions before they can be rescued."

buildings to shield passengers from extreme cold are not available on North Pacific emergency landing strips

As depicted in the scenario above, landing strips in the North Pacific are PRIMITIVE. Air Safety Week of August 9, 1999, p. 3 says:

"AECMA (European Association of Aerospace Industries) argued that in the case of a diversionary winter landing at some of the primitive airfields under consideration, "most of the evacuees would not survive after only a few minutes on the ground." Although not an ETOPS flight [Extend range Twin-engine Operations]. AECMA cited a forced landing by a Russian aircraft in the region where despite the rapid action of rescue/firefighting crews, all the occupants died from the cold temperature." [emphasis added]

Other scenarios, engine failures, fires, etc. don't present a much-improved chance of survival, especially in the North Pacific where temperatures are extreme and facilities are so limited. The only viable solution is the prevention of any type of malfunction or accident.

Boeing and Airbus have created this hazardous situation by convincing airlines that airliners with only two engines had much greater profit potential for over-water operations rather than three or four engines. But, the manufacturers, the airlines and the FAA ignored the obvious degeneration of safety standards involved.

A 1941 Mechanix Illustrated article, entitled: "Crashes CAN be harmless", states with great perspicacity that: "Accidents continue to happen and there's no sense in claiming they can be entirely prevented." The Burnelli Lifting Body design was featured in the spectacular 1935 fatality-free crash of the Burnelli UB-14 and prompted the article's title. The only sensible thing then is to build aircraft so that the occupants can survive a crash or malfunction. Boeing and Airbus, for decades, have been fully aware of the superior safety, operational and economic qualities of the Burnelli configuration, but they persist on piling probability upon probability against the survival of the passenger by imposing their fundamentally flawed conventional jets upon an innocent travelling public.

Aircraft employing the Burnelli Lifting Body principle of design float

Airliners employing the Burnelli Lifting-Body Principle of design elegantly avoid the many problems inherent in conventional airliners. Simplified design, greater efficiency and crash-worthiness (including floatability) make it ideal for the ultimate aircraft of today and beyond. (see picture which appeared in Mechanix Illustrated, Dec. 1946 - full text of article to be added to web-site soon.)

Extending ETOPS further is absolute folly. If anything, ETOPS should be repealed, and properly engineered airliners should be immediately programmed to replace these new conventional "killer" machines, which may be brand-new but are based on technology that was proven obsolete in the 1930s. Remember, on Sept. 19, 1939, the Chief of the USAF, General H.H. Arnold wrote the Secretary of War: "The [Burnelli] design embodies extremely good factors of safety--considerably higher than the streamlined fuselage type."

Isn't it time for the public (you) to take action and demand a stop to this egregious madness? Please write letters of protest to your Congressman, your Senator, Secretary of Defense Cohen, the Chairman of Boeing, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, NTSB Chairman James Hall, Flight Safety Foundation Chairman Stuart Mathews, the presidents of your favorite airlines, etc. [go to our  AvDirectory for names & addresses (please remember to stay polite)]. You have been deprived of superior, safer and less costly air transportation for over 70 years by the unscrupulous, uncaring leadership in industry and government. These leaders will not take any positive corrective action until large numbers of citizens show that they know the truth and will not tolerate further abuse.



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