Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster

Vincent Burnelli was an American engineer who envisioned an aircraft with a fuselage structure that would add to the lift of the wings and thus improve performance. He constructed several prototypes between the years of 1920 and 1944, and tried diligently to promote his ideas. Despite his efforts and innovations, the commercial aviation industry was unimpressed--none of his designs were ever accepted for production, and all remain little more than interesting historical prototypes. Only his final design, the CBY-3, remains in existence. It is housed at the New England Air Museum in Connecticut.

The CBY-3 has a crew of two, pilot and co-pilot. As a passenger plane, the CBY-3 could carry 22 passengers and 700 cubic feet of cargo. As a pure cargo transport, this could be increased to 2,070 cubic feet. In 1955, Burnelli adapted the plane to carry 20 passengers, 41 sled dogs and associated equipment to the North Pole, but the expedition was cancelled. The cabin was 20' wide, 26 ' long, and 7' high. A door on either side of the compartment allowed items up to 20' long to be loaded into the aircraft.

The plane uses 89.5 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. A full tank of fuel costs $129.


Subassemblies: Heavy Bomber chassis +5; Heavy Bomber wings +3; two Small AFV Pods +2; 3 retractable wheels +2.

Powertrain: Two 895-kW aerial HP gasoline engines [Pods] with two 895-kW props, 645-gallon standard fuel tanks [Wings], and 8,000-kWs batteries.

Occ.: 2 CS, 22 PS Body

Cargo: 140 Body


Armor F RL B T U

All: 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4



Body: Autopilot, navigation instruments, medium radio transmitter and receiver, backup driver controls.



Size: 54'x85'x21' Payload: 5.05 tons Lwt.: 13.5 tons

Volume: 1840 Maint.: 29 hours Cost: $48,225

HT: 9. HPs: 550 Body, 412 each Wing, 150 each Pod, 35 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 237 aAccel: 4 aDecel: 22 aMR: 5.5 aSR: 3

Stall Speed: 59 mph. Take Off Run: 387 yards. Landing Run: 348 yards.

gSpeed: 184 gAccel: 9 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.25 gSR: 3

Ground Pressure: Moderate. Off-Road Speed.


Design Notes:

The chassis and wing weights (and cost and HPs) were reduced by to reduce design weight. This brought the design empty weight to within 108 lbs. of the historical (0.6%). The fuselage was allowed to contribute 60% of its SA to wing SA; this effectively gave the wings the STOL option without actually modifying the wing. References did not cite whether the historical wing area (1,107 sf) included the lifting surface of the fuselage, so the design value of 1,532 sf was used. (Handily, this would still be the design's lifting area if the standard 10% of fuselage SA plus STOL wing SA were used, so the design falls within "standard design parameters" despite being achieved in a different manner.)

The design allows for ton of cargo; this figure may be a little low given the 700 cubic feet of space that was historically available.

Fuel tankage was based on a rough calculation between historical range (1,025 miles) and speed versus design cruising speed and fuel consumption. Design aSpeed was 200 mph; the historical value is shown.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2009 by Jim Antonicic