September 24, 1996.
Mr. Robert E. Whitehead
Associate Administrator for Aeronautics
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
WASHINGTON, DC 20546-0001
Dear Mr. Whitehead,
This will acknowledge receipt of your letter, dated September
6, 1996. You will see from the attached correspondence between Burnelli
and NASA that on September 3, 1996, we sent
Mr. Goldin, by certified mail, a second copy of my letter to him of July
We have been fully aware of "the overarching goal of NASA's
aeronautical enterprise" and the mandate of NACA beforehand. For this
reason, we have been constantly perplexed as to why NACA/NASA have deliberately
issued letters containing "considerable irrelevant material which
is obviously capable of misintepretation". Please see the letters
from NACA's Mr. J.W. Crowley and NASA's Mr. Ira H. Abbott. They are
meant to detrimentally reflect upon the Burnelli principle of design and
this company. Mr. John Stack's letter to me of April 4, 1962, makes it
clear that NASA would only consider Burnelli if requested to do so by another
It can be seen in the enclosed articles from the mid-30's that all
aircraft manufacturers recognized the extreme importance of the Burnelli
Lifting Body/Fuselage design. The Burnelli UB-14
crash in 1935 clearly demonstrated that the Burnelli configuration was
vastly superior to the conventional streamline type from a safety standpoint.
In 1936, Boeing's technical chiefs stated outright: "Fuselages of
the present type would disappear and all equipment and load would be housed
within the center section of the wing." This is a precise description
of the Burnelli configuration. In 1937, Donald Douglas and Lockheed's Hall
L. Hibbard predicted "that the flying-wing transport would be a reality
On September 19, 1939, a letter to the Secretary
of War by General H. H. Arnold detailed the enormous superiority of
the Burnelli design principle and included reference to the positive NACA
and NYU wind tunnel tests.
The 1941 Proceedings of a Board of Review report was instigated
by FDR and implemented and classified by the notorious General Benny Meyers.
With its glaringly false technical asseverations, this evil document
all of the highly favourable Burnelli comments, made in the subject General
Arnold letter. You will see that the miscellaneous NACA/NASA correspondence
from February 1947 through February 26, 1963, makes no reference to the
truthful General Arnold letter but follows the falsifications in the 1941
USAAC Board of Review report.
The last competition the Burnelli Company participated in was for
the U.S. Army replacement of the deHavilland AC-I in 1962. The enclosed
copy of the Independent Analysis comparing the competitors shows the
operational and payload superiority of the Burnelli entry.
Mr. Burnelli died in 1964. In 1966, with an appeal to the NASA Inventions
and Contributions Board, Mrs. Burnelli sought to have a correction of the
outrageous treatment given to her husband, but it was rejected. I enclose
a copy of the cover page of the Transcript for your reference. Please read
the testimony of the highly respected Jean Roche (commencing on Page
also that of Charles Fredericks (Page 98), which confirms that NASA was
fully aware of the importance of the Burnelli configuration and the engine
installation, covered by Patent No. 2,586,299 [PDF], which was
applied for in
January 1945 and issued to Mr. Burnelli on February 19, 1952. Lockheed's
Hall L. Hibbard had already confirmed his knowledge of the Burnelli importance
in his letter to me of June 5, 1961.
Finally, I enclose the current issue of FLIGHT magazine which
contains an accurate Burnelli story in proper perspective by the eminent
Professor Edmund Cantilli.
We urge you to carefully read all of the enclosures as well as the
Lockheed correspondence which we have twice submitted to Mr. Goldin.
We trust that this additional documentation will assist Mr. Goldin
in his response to my letters to him of July 9 and
September 3, 1996.
With best regards.