The Burnelli Conspiracy is but the tip of the Iceberg

Crashes CAN Be Harmless (continued)

1934--prototype UB=14
The fact that Reichers and Murray weren't killed is easy to understand when you see a picture of the pilot's compartment and passenger cabin. The worst effect noticeable is the mud on the windows.

When the cabin of a plane stays in one piece the passengers stand a chance in any crash.


Usher Rousch proved that pretty conclusively three years after the Burnelli wreck. He was coming in from Chicago to land at that same field in Newark. The fog was so thick you couldn't see both ends of a cigarette--and there wasn't a hole in it anywhere.

Rousch didn't relish the idea of slamming a plane load of passengers into the side of a hangar in a blind search for the runway, so he headed for the swamps around the airport. He hit the mud so hard that the engines doubled back under the wings, but the cabin stayed in shape. The result proves the point once more. Not a single passenger was scratched. Rousch, himself, was the casualty list. He got a few cuts from the jolt.

Private planes bring out the importance of a strong cabin every now and then, too. A pair of sport flyers looking for a good beach to swim from, made a good example about a year ago in Florida. They came down to what looked like a beautiful spot to land and swim. The trouble was that they didn't notice a tangle of old, rusty cable imbedded in the sand. Their wheels had no sooner hit the surface than they jammed into the cable and whacked the ship over on its nose. Nothing buckled up, and nothing bent. The little bus was well made. Even the propeller didn't break--that was almost freakish, however. Later on they pushed the tail down again, took off, and flew home. Ironically, the name of the pilot in that sandy mishap was Beech.

The scene down at Lovettsville, Virginia, last year gives a pretty clear picture of a passenger cabin in fragments--with 25 dead, United States Senator Lundeen among them. That ended a 17 month death-free record for the airlines, and proved again that whether you like it or not, accidents do happen. Although nobody will ever know just what happened to that ship, it doesn't take an expert to see that the cabin went to pieces like the rest of it.

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