Burnelli UB-14

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Burnelli UB-14 photo Le Pontentiel Aérien Mondial 1936.jpg
Role Civil transport
Manufacturer Burnelli
Designer Vincent Burnelli
First flight 1934
Number built 3
Developed into Burnelli CBY-3

The Burnelli UB-14, also known as the Cunliffe-Owen Clyde Clipper, was a 1930s American prototype lifting-fuselage airliner designed and built by Vincent Burnelli.

Design and development[edit]

Following on from his earlier designs Vincent Burnelli designed a commercial transport version using the lifting-fuselage concept. Burnelli's designs were based on the idea that an airfoil-section fuselage would contribute to the lift generated. The Burnelli UB-14 first flew in 1934, the airfoil-section fuselage was the centre-section of the wing. The aircraft had twin tailbooms and a widespan tailplane and elevator fitted with twin fins and rudders. The UB-14 had retractable landing gear and was powered by two Pratt & Whitney radial engines. An enclosed cockpit for the crew of two was located on the centre wing's upper surface. The cabin held 14 to 18 passengers.

Operational history[edit]

The first prototype, UB-14, was destroyed in a 1935 accident attributed to faulty maintenance on the aileron control system.[1] Burnelli then designed and built an improved version, the UB-14B. A modified version of the UB-14B design was built under licence in the United Kingdom by Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft, powered by two Bristol Perseus XIVC radials as the Cunliffe-Owen OA-1.[2] A contemporary photo shows the mockup of the original UB-14B, to be built by Scottish Aviation before bankruptcy. This design was to have had streamline inline engines. The OA-1 used radial engines.

In September 1936, Burnelli applied to the CAA for approval to fly a transatlantic flight with Clyde Edward Pangborn as the selected pilot.[3]

The Perseus XIVc-powered Cunliffe-Owen O.A.1 in July 1939

The Cunliffe-Owen failed its airworthiness certification due to excessive takeoff run and poor workmanship. It was performance tested at the A&AEE Boscombe Down in 1939.[4]

After appropriate work, in June 1941 Jim Mollison and an Air Transport Auxiliary crew delivered Cunliffe-Owen OA-1 G-AFMB to Fort Lamy, Chad. The aircraft was fitted out as a personal transport for General De Gaulle. It was later abandoned at RAF Kabrit in Egypt, and burned during VJ-Day celebrations.[5] The one other aircraft landed in Vichy France en route to Fort Lamy[6]


  • UB-14 Prototype, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Built by Burnelli Company. Destroyed 13 January 1935, without injury to those aboard.
  • UB-14B Second prototype with modifications. Built by Burnelli Company.
  • UB-14B Third prototype, modified from second unit. Built by Cunliffe Owen Aircraft in United Kingdom.

Specifications (UB-14B)[edit]

Burnelli UB-14 3-view drawing from L'Aerophile February 1936

General characteristics

  • Crew: two
  • Capacity: 14–18 passengers
  • Length: 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)
  • Wingspan: 71 ft 0 in (21.64 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 0 in (3.05 m)
  • Wing area: 686 sq ft (63.73 m2)
  • Empty weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg)
  • Gross weight: 17,500 lb (7,938 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Hornet radial piston engines , 750 hp (560 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 210 mph (383 km/h, 180 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 205 mph (330 km/h, 178 kn)
  • Range: 1,240 mi (1,996 km, 1,080 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 22,000 ft (6,705 m)


  • Fuselage: NACA 4323
  • Exterior wing, root: NACA 2412
  • Exterior wing, tip: NACA 2409


See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era



  1. ^ "About". Burnelli successor company. Retrieved: November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Fast Air Liner To Compete In Atlantic Race." Popular Mechanics, May 1937.
  3. ^ "Ocean hop planned in metal airplane." The Washington Post, September 17, 1936.
  4. ^ Mason 2010, p. 242.
  5. ^ Aeroplane Monthly June 2006 p.95 with two bw plates
  6. ^ Joss, D.A. "Flying Wing" Recollection, Flight International, 13 May 1965, pp. 750–751.
  7. ^ Flight magazine, 1936 / pg. 1591


  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1986.
  • Mason, Tim. The Secret Years: Flight Testing at Boscombe Down, 1939–1945. Crowborough, UK: Hikoki Publications, 2010. ISBN 978-1-9021-0914-5.

External links[edit]