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February 21, 2001


Keeping the Record Tidy



On January 15 of this year, we published an email we received in February 1999 from Rick Wood, a Senior Aerodynamicist at NASA. We stated:

"It is an outrage that people, such as Mr. Wood and the Boeing engineer, were not only maleducated but, as in Mr. Wood's case, prevented from carrying out his research and advising the public of his findings, resulting in many re-creation activities within the industry and the waste of large amounts of tax dollars, as Mr. Wood stated in his email of February 24, 1999."

Mr. Wood contacted us on or about January 17, 2001 and said he had written a paper (Paper # AIAA 2001-0311) for the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) meeting in Reno January 8-11, 2001. Mr. Wood was kind enough to send us a copy of this paper. Some might say that we jumped the gun with our conclusions, but as you'll see, our cynicism wasn't unfounded.

We were reliably informed early on that Mr. Wood's intention was to write a technical paper on the Burnelli subject, but that this had been vetoed "due to the material being dated" - or words to that effect - and that he had to write a historical paper. If the technical paper had been written, it would have shown, without any doubt, not only the validity but the superiority of the Burnelli Lifting-Body principle of design. Obviously, the establishment couldn't allow that to happen!

The historical paper would have been fine, if it had actually reported the truth. Instead, it attempted to muddy the waters by redefining words, such as lifting-body and lifting-fuselage (synonyms), to mean completely different things. The paper also threw in a number of other designers and designs, most of which were derivatives of Mr. Burnelli's original 1921 technology. This was an attempt to lead the reader into believing that a number of people arrived at the same conclusion at the same time, when, in fact, they all used Vincent Burnelli's design principles. There isn't a single design that predates Mr. Burnelli's RB-1 aircraft, which reduced the Burnelli lifting fuselage/lifting body design principle to practice in 1921. Burnelli was the first!

In other words, if one looks at the manner in which this paper is structured, it appears that many other people, some of them lawyers, tailored words to fit the establishment's purpose, especially when one takes into account Mr. Wood's initial email to us two years previously.

A supporter forwarded a copy of an email which contained the following comments regarding the AIAA paper:

"That paper repeatedly notes how the world has systematically overlooked the virtues of flying wing planforms, and it points out how the established institutions have failed to learn from the past. Ironically, it also fails to put Burnelli in proper perspective. The paper seems to fall victim to its own criticism ." [emphasis added]

What is remarkable about this paper? It is the first time since NASA's inception it has recognized Vincent Burnelli and his technology. Truly remarkable for an organization that portrays itself to be solely scientific. At least with respect to this matter: solely political is more accurate in our view!

Last week, in an apparent attempt to brainwash the public that Northrop was the source of the BWB technology, the media networked a Los Angeles Times* (appeared Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2001, Section: Part A of L.A. Times) article in papers across the country. It reads in part:

"The design, first pioneered 1920s Los Angeles legendary Jack Northrop, come and out of vogue over decades. The flying wing, as it is also known, was design basis for B-2 Stealth bomber, developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. in 1980s. But never before has a passenger aircraft used the flying-wing concept."

[The Burnelli Company sent a letter to Los Angeles Times writer Peter Pae on February 12, 2001 asking for a correction - to the best of our knowledge none has been issued nor has Mr. Pae responded to the letter.]

For a more in-depth look as to why the B-2 is not a derivative of Northrop technology, click here . Northrop's first flying wing type plane appeared in 1929, when Burnelli was working on his fifth lifting fuselage airplane. The Northrop B-2 clearly embraces the Burnelli technology of the 1940s, click here. Likewise, the Boeing BWB copies the Burnelli 1940s lifting body technology right down to the engine installation (Burnelli US Patent No. 2,586,299, filed Sept. 11, 1945).


The world certainly needs safer and more efficient Burnelli airliners and it is pleasing to see Boeing resorting to the use of Mr. Burnelli's 1940s technology in its "Blended-Wing Body" .  Nevertheless, it is absolutely appalling that Boeing has lacked the honor and integrity of employing Burnelli technolgy without asking for approval from the owner of the technology rights - the Burnelli Company - which is probably why they won't give Mr. Burnelli credit for this design!  We'd like to trust that Boeing will correct this egregious "error" without delay.

As for NASA, sadly we don't believe there is hope for that organism to rise out of the swamp of corruption and deceit it has fallen into. Since its inception, NASA has had in its possession the NYU and NACA wind-tunnel reports of the early Burnelli tests, and yet it has refused to acknowledge their validity and has accepted further funds from Congress to do Research and Development on data they already had. And when one of its engineers attempts to bring the truth of a superior design to light, he is relegated to doing what appears to be a heavily censored/edited historical review. Surely, the time is long overdue for Congress to look into the incompetence, irresponsibility (or, should we say corruption?) and the total lack of conscience of NASA's top leadership.

We, the flying public, have been doing more than wait for delayed aircraft, we've been waiting for the last forty years for safer and more efficient aircraft Just think about it. Were it not for the Pentagon, NASA, industry, tax-exempt foundations, the Smithsonian and universities colluding (if just one of these had broken ranks), the travelling public could have commenced enjoying the full safety and economic benefits of Burnelli Lifting Body (BWB) air transports at least 40 years ago! Boeing's supposed great leaps in technology are thousands of deaths and billions of dollars late - no wonder they want Burnelli to get only historical treatment while giving Northrop the credit!

Stay Tuned!

See also: The Burnelli Company's January 26, 2001 letter to Mr. Wood

* Los Angeles is the home of Northrop.  How much advertising did Northrop buy from the Los Angeles Times recently?

- For copies of the AIAA paper, referred to above, please write to AIAA, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, Virginia 20191-4344.