|How a Safer Airliner Might Look |
What would a commercial airliner look like if it were designed to increase the chances that its passengers could survive the impact of a crash?
To find out, The Newsday Magazine asked Charles A. SanGiovanni, a Huntington industrial designer with extensive experience planning airplane interiors, to design such a plane after consulting with Prof. Edmund J. Cantilli, a transportation safety expert. Their collaboration produced the design shown on these pages: a crashworthy, as well as airworthy, commercial airliner based on pioneer airplane designer Vincent Burnelli's principles and Cantilli's safety recommendations.
Burnelli's main idea was that the fuselage, which in conventional aircraft is basically a long cylinder, can supply more than 50 per cent of an airplane's "lift" if it were designed in the shape of an airfoil. Inside Burnelli's fuselage, SanGiovanni envisions seats for 162 passengers, with no one sitting in a group of more than three across, and with room left over for wider seats and aisles.
Because of the additional lift, the plane could operate with smaller engines and a lighter fuel load. More weight could be devoted to safety features, such as better-anchored seats and luggage bins. The fuselage would be sturdily constructed as a single unit, instead of in tubular sections that are riveted together, as it is in conventional planes, and its "skin" would not be weakened where windows and doors are placed.
Could this plane fly? Burnelli built eight smaller "flying wings" that did.
--Newsday Magazine 12/12/82