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September / October, 2000


Response to an Engineer (Boeing)

Email series from Mr. C.H. Goodlin

Part 3 of 6


In this part, Mr. Goodlin addresses the statement made by the skeptical Boeing engineer that conventional designs are safe enough.



----- Begin Original Message
----- From: Chalmers H. Goodlin


Because the Burnelli fuselage is comprised of the bulk of the aircraft structure, it provides a safety cage for the occupants (note: race cars make use of safety cages to protect the driver in case of impact).

"When the cabin of a plane stays in one piece the passengers stand a chance in any crash."
--"Crashes CAN Be Harmless"
Mechanix Illustrated, June 1941

The engines and landing gear, the major fire sources, are attached to the main structure and isolated from the fuel tanks in the outer wing panels. The engines are mounted close together on the fuselage, eliminating the serious asymmetrical thrust problems, associated with conventional airliners which have engines mounted way outboard of the centerline of thrust. Such major safety advances were recognized by most aviation experts, for example:

"Moving the landing gear inboard and strengthening the fuselage to absorb the shock of landing would eliminate applying stress to the fuel tank supporting structure. This revision of the commonplace has been accomplished in the Burnelli "lifting wing" design. Another feature of this latter type aircraft is the shifting of fuel tanks so that they are not in direct line with the power plants and their exhaust outlets."

GEORGE H. TRYON, III, National Fire Protection Association Secretary, Quarterly (Vol 40, No. 4) April 1947, page 264

The facts clearly show that the common practice of hanging engines and landing gear on fuel tank supporting structure in combination with excessively high take-off and landing speeds on over-stressed tires is irresponsible. Add to these flaws a fragile fuselage, devoid of crashworthy features, and there is a perfect recipe for fiery crashes.

(for diagrams and further safety discussion click on respective words.)

Boeing's alleged dedication to safety is not reflected in the words of Boeing's retired Senior Vice-President Kenneth Luplow (letter of December 31, 1983 to Pete Gifford):

"I do not believe that enough attention has been paid to accident avoidance during the detailed design phase of modern day aircraft development. The engineering departments of the manufacturers do not have separate, identifiable staff groups dedicated solely to a continuous audit and review of each step of the design process to insure that each and every design decision takes accident avoidance and survivability into full consideration. I believe that many accidents that have occurred during the past few years would never had happened had such surveillance been exercised."

(for PDF and other Boeing comments click here)

----end of message----