The Burnelli Web Site
Evidence of Suppression and Official denial is overwhelming


1500 New Hampshire Ave., Dupont Circle
Washington 25, D.C.

February 17, 1947

Honorable Chan Gurney
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

My dear Senator Gurney:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of 10 February 1947, together with its enclosures with reference to the aircraft designs of Mr. V. J. Burnelli, Vice President of the Central Aircraft Corporation, New York City.

In his letter of February 3 addressed to you Mr. Burnelli contends that the safety of aircraft could be improved by eliminating the present type of construction in which the engine mountings are on the wing structure, which also forms the fuel tanks. He advocates strengthening the cabin section and removing the engines from direct relationship to the gasoline tanks. It is his belief that airplanes such as his CBY transport, a modified flying wing, offer greater safety than those of conventional design, because of the "box-like fuselage", which, in a more advanced version, would form the central portion of a flying wing.

The Committee has had extensive correspondence with Mr. Burnelli in the past, and is familiar with the development of his various designs, all of which embody the principle of the so-called "lifting fuselage". Other "flying wing" airplane designs are logical extensions of the same principle, and the arguments of those who advocate this type of construction are also well known. The development of the true flying wing airplane has been impaired by the inherent disadvantages, such, for example, as the problem of incorporating satisfactory stability and control.

The statement that a fuselage of the type incorporated in Mr. Burnelli's CBY transport is safer than a fuselage of conventional design appears to be open to question. As a matter of fact, for a given structural weight a container of circular cross section can be made stronger than one of equal volume having any other form. There does not appear to be any evidence which would indicate that the present strength requirements of conventional aircraft fuselages are inadequate; however, if such were the case, it is believed that it would be possible to increase e the strength of the conventional fuselage to meet a given standard by a smaller increase in structural weight than would be required to meet the same standard in changing from current fuselage designs to "lifting fuselages" of the Burnelli type.

In response to the request from your office the enclosures received with your letter of 10 February 1947 are returned herewith.

Sincerely yours,

J.W. Crowley,
Acting Director of
Aeronautical Research.


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