Key.Aero Network
Register Free

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 63

Thread: The Burnelli saga.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350

    The Burnelli saga.

    Does anyone else here believe that Vincent Burnelli had some of the best ideas about flying safety and that we're all worse off for flying in pencils with wings?

    I've gathered a lot of info on this subject and am fairly well convinced that many thousands of lives could have been saved if his aircraft had been produced and WWII could possibly have been shortened at the stroke of a pen.
    Thanks to the short sightedness of US President Roosevelt, we may never know.

    Lots of info on the web via google and more of my thoughts to follow here, if anyone is interested?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    You might have to expand on the 'more lives could have been saved' bit for us?
    My only knowledge on the subject is the Cunliffe Owen licenced version of the UB-14, the OA1.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    St Ives, cambs
    Posts
    2,402
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    My only knowledge on the subject is the Cunliffe Owen licenced version of the UB-14, the OA1.
    Just starting some preliminary 1/48th scale drawings of the OA-1 which I have seen referred to on various web sites during my research as the 'Clyde Clipper'. Wrong. That was a Kestrel powered aircraft that never got further than a wooden mock up.



    Brian
    The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

    DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
    Google+

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    You might have to expand on the 'more lives could have been saved' bit for us?
    That isn't too difficult, because as we all know, most crashes causing loss of life happen during take off and landing. Burnelli's designs were ESTOL, plus the fuel cells were sighted away from the safety cell passenger compartment. The wings were designed to break off on impact and the engines did their own thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    My only knowledge on the subject is the Cunliffe Owen licenced version of the UB-14, the OA1.
    There were a few others and a good starting point is here:
    http://www.aircrash.org/burnelli/chrono1.htm

    The Burnelli story is partly outlined here:
    http://www.mysteriesofcanada.com/Can...art_3_CBY3.htm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by Pen Pusher View Post
    Just starting some preliminary 1/48th scale drawings of the OA-1 which I have seen referred to on various web sites during my research as the 'Clyde Clipper'. Wrong. That was a Kestrel powered aircraft that never got further than a wooden mock up.

    Brian
    Can you provide definitive information that the OA-1, G-AFMB wasn't the Clyde Clipper?
    I'm convinced that it was and all the info I have on it points to that as fact.
    Here's one example, albeit only another website:
    http://www.aircrash.org/burnelli/ch_oa1.htm

    NB: Nice drawing Brian!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    St Ives, cambs
    Posts
    2,402
    Joglo

    A potted history:-

    The Scottish Aircraft and Engineering Co Ltd was formed to build a licence version of of the Burnelli UB-14, known as the 'British Burnelli' under the heading of 'Clyde Aircraft' and the aircraft given the name of 'Clyde Clipper', and was to be fitted with RR Kestrel engines instead of Pratt & Witneys. It only got as far as a wooden mock up before the company went bust.

    Cunliffe-Owen was to have used one of these 'Clyde Clippers' in the New-York/Paris air race of August 1937, which didn't take place.

    With the collapse of Scottish Aircraft, Cunliffe-Owen then obtained a Licence to build a European version of the Burnelli UB-14 to be known as the Cunliffe-Owen OA Mk1 powered by 2 Bristol Perseus engines.

    Although retaining the basic shape of the UB-14, the Clyde Clipper and the OA Mk1 were two completely different aircraft. One was to be built by Scottish Aircraft and the other was built by Cunliffe-Owen. The tail boom of the Clyde was the same as the UB-14 but the tail of the OA Mk1 was different. There was also to be a slightly larger OA Mk11 and a bomber version of the OA MK1.

    Hope that is of some help

    Brian
    The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

    DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
    Google+

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Thanks Brian,

    I now gather that the Cunliffe Owen OA-Mk1 was basically a UB-14B with Bristol Perseus XIVC radials fitted and a few other slight modifications.
    I'm not surprised that it was modified, as the UB-14 was first flown in 1934.

    Maybe it wasn't the actual Clyde Clipper, but for some reason it was dubbed with that name by almost everyone involved in writing its history, including those involved in what is left of the Burnelli organisation.

    Very strange.

    José
    Last edited by Joglo; 17th October 2008 at 11:06.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    St Ives, cambs
    Posts
    2,402
    José

    I now gather that the Cunliffe Owen OA-Mk1 was basically a UB-14B with Bristol Perseus XIVC radials fitted and a few other slight modifications.
    I'm not surprised that it was modified, as the UB-14 was first flown in 1934.
    Correct

    Maybe it wasn't the actual Clyde Clipper, but for some reason it was dubbed with that name by almost everyone involved in writing its history, including those involved in what is left of the Burnelli organisation
    The only place I have found where the Cunliffe-Owen OA Mk1 is referred to as the 'Clyde Clipper' is on various web sites. Nearly all the other research I have completed, as I do before I start any drawing, no where is the OA Mk1 called a 'Clyde Clipper'. I can only assume that in the distant past some one setting up a web site didn't check and just assumed the OA Mk1 and the Clyde Clipper was one in the same and no one has bothered to check since and the mistake has been perpetuated.

    Since me that is

    In that 'aircrash' link you posted, the writing in the second photo has the AO Mk1 flying over the Clyde but it is a well know photo of it flying over Southampton. Don't take everything at face value.

    This is the wooden mock up of the Clyde Clipper. Note the engines and tail boom as compared to the OA Mk 1.

    Brian
    The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

    DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
    Google+

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    Quote Originally Posted by Pen Pusher View Post
    There was also to be a slightly larger OA Mk11 and a bomber version of the OA MK1.
    Brian
    This by any chance?

    Pic via Daveotu on AIX
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    St Ives, cambs
    Posts
    2,402
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    This by any chance?

    Pic via Daveotu on AIX
    Err, no. The military version of the Mk1 was just a Mk1, twin engined, but able to carry bombs.

    The Mk11 was externally pretty much the same as the Mk1 apart from the deeper tail boom. The Mk11 has a toilet now in the tail boom where as the Mk1 had it at the front of the passenger cabin, under the cockpit fairing, for the height.

    Brian
    The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

    DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
    Google+

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    Any idea which CO project that is in the pic?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    St Ives, cambs
    Posts
    2,402
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    Any idea which CO project that is in the pic?
    No idea, but it may be an American Burnelli design.

    Looking at the double wheels and the cockpit extending from the leading edge, it looks remarkably like a 4 engined version of the twin engined Can-Car CBY3

    After the one and only OA Mk1, the Cunliffe-Owen factory that was built in Southampton for the production of the OA Mk1 was turned over to was effort which was mainly aircraft repair and maintenace and that was probably the last Cunliffe-Owen had anything to do the the lifting body principal. After the war they produced the Concordia airliner which was of conventional tube fuselage design.

    Brian
    Last edited by Pen Pusher; 17th October 2008 at 13:32.
    The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

    DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
    Google+

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Black Forest, Germany.
    Posts
    8,579
    And for those of you who don't open links, there are substantial remains of a CBY-3 at the New England Air Museum, unfortunately in outside storage.
    http://www.flightmemory.com/ I have been round the world 11.6 times!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Trying not to let this thread go too far off topic about whether or not a particular Burnelli design was made where, when, with what name, prefix or modifications, I'd like to stick to my original point if possible.

    Are we all the poorer for not having Burnelli's designs to fly in and have many lives been lost that could have been saved?

    The whole principal of ESTOL alone, tells me that an accident, such as the last one at Madrid and myriad others could have been avoided.

    History has already been made since that era and we don't have ESTOL passenger aircraft flying around, instead, we have tubes with wings attached.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Where you wish you were.
    Posts
    8,936
    Quote Originally Posted by Joglo View Post

    I've gathered a lot of info on this subject and am fairly well convinced that many thousands of lives could have been saved if his aircraft had been produced and WWII could possibly have been shortened at the stroke of a pen.
    Thanks to the short sightedness of US President Roosevelt, we may never know.

    I'm no huge fan of FDR...but you're crazy to suggest that it's his fault.
    I'm not familiar with what you're suggesting..why do you think is it his fault that worldwide aeronautics community didn't leap on the the Burnelli bandwagon?

    Simply put...if the design were so good, why didn't someone else champion it?
    Why not blame Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle, Franco...or better yet, Boeing, de Havilland, the Soviet design bureaus, Dassault, the former Junkers team in East Germany, Kurt Tank in South America, the Popular Flying Association, monty Python's Flying Circus...? There are lots of possible suspects.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by J Boyle View Post
    I'm no huge fan of FDR...but you're crazy to suggest that it's his fault.
    I'm not familiar with what you're suggesting..why do you think is it his fault that worldwide aeronautics community didn't leap on the the Burnelli bandwagon?

    Simply put...if the design were so good, why didn't someone else champion it?
    Why not blame Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle, Franco...or better yet, Boeing, de Havilland, the Soviet design bureaus, Dassault, the former Junkers team in East Germany, Kurt Tank in South America, the Popular Flying Association, monty Python's Flying Circus...? There are lots of possible suspects.
    That is probably the easiest of points to explain.

    Burnelli’s design was so impressive that a contract was drawn up and was ready to be signed by president
    Roosevelt until Burnelli mentioned the wrong person as his backer, Arthur Pew, (Republican) supporter
    of Wendell Willkie, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (Democrat) opposition in the 1940 election.
    It is written that, "Roosevelt threw his pen across the room, and tore up the contract."

    Nuff said.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Where you wish you were.
    Posts
    8,936
    No, my point still stands...if it was such an aeronautical advancement, why didn't anyone else in the world adopt it?
    In the world of aviation, good ideas spurned in their home country have a way for finding acceptance somewhere else.
    Licesnse agreements abounded even in the old days.

    BTW: The president doesn't sign military contracts...and the U.S., did not have a nationalized aviation/airline industry, so it wasn't for an airliner....so I'm a bit suspect of the FDR part of the story.
    He may have had a falling out with someone involved, (sounds like his work on cancelling air mail contracts, and the heavy handed way he punished Lindbergh for being an isolationist, but I digress) but even if a military contract were cancelled for political reasons (or out of spite) it wouldn't have been the death of the entire Burnelli concept.
    Even if we take a cynical view of government contracts, if the design were such an advancement (and therefore a money maker), the idea would have been passed to another builder...perhaps one with more political favor.
    Last edited by J Boyle; 17th October 2008 at 16:27.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    OK, I'll try to explain, but if you're that doubtful and yet that interested, the answers to your questions are readily available by doing some simple Burnelli searches with google and following any links that look informative.

    After the meeting with FDR, his design was suppressed as "Dangerous" and the files locked away and following that, the sad fact is that no one in any country, with any clout realised the potential of this design.
    Don't forget there was a World War going on at the time and some ideas were overlooked, even those which hadn't been hushed up.

    In 1941, Chief of the Army Air Forces, later General Hap Arnold, was all for pushing ahead with building the aircraft in quantity, but his bossman disagreed.

    Another tragic story is of, "Burnelli’s infamous bid with the US Navy to build a WWII B-36 bomber."
    Also shrouded in myth.

    It might all sound like a conspiracy theory, but the fact still stands that it was and still could be a design for the future, as Douglas recently believed, but it's said that they baulked at the cost of paying for the patent.

    Have a look at the proposed X-48B and tell me if you can see any resemblance to Burnelli's design?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    Joglo, a plane crash is a plane crash and people generally die in them, I don't think many more lives could be saved by an aircrafts' unusual design features.
    It sounds like a bit of advertising blurb from Burnelli, something that if you read the old Flight magazines of the time will see has been used by others.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Angels one-five over North Bucks.
    Posts
    10,421
    The only and original Burnelli photo in my collection.

    May be of interest.

    Mark


  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    Joglo, a plane crash is a plane crash and people generally die in them, I don't think many more lives could be saved by an aircrafts' unusual design features.
    It sounds like a bit of advertising blurb from Burnelli, something that if you read the old Flight magazines of the time will see has been used by others.
    Have you seen the Burnelli crash film on YouTube?
    It might make you stop and think again!

    Nice pic Mark!

    José
    Last edited by Joglo; 17th October 2008 at 19:59.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    In the Lucky Country
    Posts
    8,442
    Some random thoughts and responses.

    Much of the web Bernelli references are partial and some dubious. The 'Mysteries of Canada' by Bruce Ricketts website is interesting, but partisan, at least. The lack of solid evidence (and citations) for core facts mixed with a romping tale with jucy gossip and set up 'so, what do you think?' conclusions has all the hallmarks of heading towards the tinfoil hat brigade. There's a clear lack of any attempt to disprove theories, another test.

    I'll happily admit I've not bothered trying to get a solid grip on 'real Bernelli' as against the fantasy - I don't have the time/interest ratio at the moment! However, some general principles:

    Pagen01. Design features do influence crash probability and crash survivability. I'm sure you can't mean what you said?!

    Interesting link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_De_Haven

    Aviation development has always been incredibly conservative. New radical ideas need to be lucky as well as good to get established, after which, in due time some blithering idiot will come along and say 'if it looks right it flies right' - that having actually been established by performance. Scissor wings, and asymmetric designs are two dead-ends so far because of this conservatism, rather than design flaws.

    I agree with John that the FDR excuse won't wash, and IMHO, it smells as a story.

    However, what do you want? If the idea was so good, waive the patent! Volvo did just that for the invention of the 3 point car seatbelt, because they thought the safety benefit was important enough. A good parallel I think. (Details welcome, and it relates to aviation safety as well! See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nils_Bohlin )

    Really good ideas are often arrived at by different people at different places, sometimes at the same time. It's not always the case, of course, but if it's that good, isn't it inevitable?

    Countries copy others' successes. It's a lot rarer they copy unproven ideas.

    I'm no aerodynamicist, but the Bernelli lifting wing is a 1930s answer to 1930s problems at 1930s speeds and weights. I don't think the designs, updated to compete with 21st century airliners would hold relevant answers today.

    It's possible that in the 1930s and 1940s adoption of Bernelli's designs may have 'saved' some lives. However the safety culture and understanding pre-war was very different to today's. For instance the crash of Short Empire boat at sea without the passengers being asked to put on seatbelts and the stewards still walking around, and the loss of a UK Junkers F.13 through metal fatigue and structural failure in the mid 1920s, without significant subsequent follow up indicate a lack of systems for safety development in the UK.

    'Douglas recently'? Even I'm aware Douglas aren't doing anything these days. What's the cruise speed of these lifting wing design? Can they compete on seat-mile costs?

    Regards,
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Thanks for your thoughts JDK.
    Let me first of all advise everyone here that I'm not trying to sell anything, I'm a retired car mechanic with a few other skills under my workbelt.
    I've been an aeronut since the age of 4, when I wanted to fly Spitfires and fight the enemy, who were flying over our house in those days.
    I'm also a scale modeller, I've drawn up, built and flown my designs over the years.

    I only stumbled on Burnelli's aircraft recently, although I do remember the 'Clyde Clipper' that isn't, from my childhood days.

    The concept has captured my imagination, but I'm trying to wade through the conspiracy, gossip, partisan ideas and fantasies that seem to surround this design.

    One thing stands out as a racing certainty, there was a very good reason why Burnelli aircraft were not built in the 40s and used by the military and it certainly had nothing to do with their feasibility, so maybe it was political?
    'Douglas recently'? Even I'm aware Douglas aren't doing anything these days.
    So am I, but this story began 80 years ago and I'm getting on myself, so my idea of 'recently' may be subtly different to yours.

    What's the cruise speed of these lifting wing design? Can they compete on seat-mile costs?
    I believe the lifting body design could achieve a suitable cruising speed economically.
    "Lifting-fuselage/wing aircraft having low induced drag."
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5813628.html

    I used the word 'saga' in the title of this thread for a good reason, it has been discussed and argued about continually, since the idea was scrapped in the early 40s.
    Here are some interesting words written by another modeller:
    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...21&postcount=8

    It's quite understandable that many people are still dubious, I don't blame them, it's normal to be negative, my wife does it all the time.
    I do find it sad to be dubious about something that wasn't given a reasonable chance to prove itself and is even now being copied, albeit not for passenger transport, so far.

    Edited to include a fascinating article on the modern possibilities of this design:
    http://www.meridian-int-res.com/Aero...s/Burnelli.htm
    Last edited by Joglo; 18th October 2008 at 09:17.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    JDK, what I wrote is simplistic yes, but if an aircraft is coming down from a great height with either structural failure or power problems, I don't see that the design of the aircraft will have much bearing on passenger survival.
    Surely the more survivable situations, say lower level, take off, and landings are influenced by many other factors (sometimes luck!) where design has still got a limited role to play? I don't see how the Burnelli design helps in either respect, maybe more rigid passenger compartment.

    I think more needs to be put across as to how the Burnelli design was meant to be more survivable in these situations?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    In the Lucky Country
    Posts
    8,442
    Quote Originally Posted by pagen01 View Post
    JDK, what I wrote is simplistic yes, but if an aircraft is coming down from a great height with either structural failure or power problems, I don't see that the design of the aircraft will have much bearing on passenger survival.
    I'd start with the concept of crumple zones and occupant protection (usually attached to, or part of a vehicle structure). Aft facing seats are all examples of safety by design.

    Fuel tank developments, system design improvements and on and on have all contributed to safety.

    Then there are other softer factors - a well designed aircraft that's easy to fly and flown by skilled and responsible pilots is safer than one which isn't. All of those factors involve making those choices. The 1950/60s advances in airline safety were, in part a change of culture from the the ex-Bomber or wartime crews to crews able to be trained in systems and to follow procedures rather their own personally developed approaches.

    (PS: Also the example quoted was of accidents at landing or take off specifically.)

    Joglo, all good stuff, but testing hypothesis and looking for multiple scenarios/ factors and causes, rather than 'not a therefore b' thinking.

    Cheers,
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    I do understand that and don't really want to digress on this thread, but all of those factors don't stop people being killed.
    The recent tragedy in Spain shows that, with all the research into safer fuels, fire is still a major problem. Safer fusalages don't stop them crumpling up, better pilot training and easier to fly aircraft don't prevent errors in either the flying or maintainance phases. Bird strikes and fuel contamination are also major factors that still occur.
    I appreciate that aviation has got safer (apart from possibly legislation), but still don't see how the Burnelli would have changed things?

    Joglo, what is the X-48B you are referring to?
    Last edited by pagen01; 18th October 2008 at 13:48.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    ESTOL, ESTOL, ESTOL is one major key to safety, because, as stated earlier, take off and landing is where most accidents occur, so falling from a great height becomes the lesser of the dangers involved.
    The greater the speed needed for take off and landing, the greater the danger?

    Not wishing to go off topic here, but 3 mechanics have been done for manslaughter re the Spanair crash, for negligence.

    We cannot work on theory if doubt still exists as far as Burnelli's design is concerned, it hasn't been around recently for anyone to study the pros and cons.
    What can be said about it, is that no one other than politicians has come up with one good reason why it wasn't an idea that could have been taken forward and improved upon, as Burnelli himself tried to do.

    It isn't here and now and it's highly unlikely that any of us will ever see an aircraft flying that could have been a part of the here and now for most of the lifetime of everyone living.

    May I suggest that anyone who comments on this thread, without first having satisfied themselves that they have read enough on the subject and come to a reasoned conclusion, would be best advised not to bother.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    I am genuinely interested in the Burnelli, mainly via the OA1 (love British alsorans), I know nothing of its safety reputation or ESTOL and am keen to find out more - hence taking part in the thread.
    Is ESTOL (Extra STOL?) much safer than STOL as used in Dash 7/8 etc?
    Still not sure what the X-48B is?

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Mountain hideaway in España
    Posts
    350
    Pagen, I'm happy to know that you're interested, but the only thing British about it, was the one off built under licence at Southampton.

    ESTOL = Extremely Short Take Off and Landing.

    When I google, XB-48B on my PC, the first item shown on the list that refers to it is,
    http://www.talkingproud.us/ScienceBlendedWing.html

    Yours may give different results.

    José

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    At St Athan but from St Mawgan
    Posts
    10,719
    I was wondering if you meant XB-49B, an entirely different beast and one that you have just mistakingly quoted in your above post.
    There was a passenger version planned, obviously all housed within the centre aerofoil section.

    The X-48 in the link looks more in common with the flying wing than the Burnelli.

    The only British link might be the Scotish & CO one, but I'm interest in British aviation, hence coming in from that angle.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

- Part of the    Network -

KEY AERO AVIATION NEWS

MAGAZINES

AVIATION FORUM

SHOP

 

WEBSITES