CFIT is an aviation acronym that stands for "controlled flight into terrain." It's a benign sounding term for a catastrophic event -- a type of crash. The Burnt Fuselage is a creation from Chuck Kerwood, a fighter pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille, which was a squadron mostly composed of American volunteers who flew for France in World War I. Kerwood survived the war, and the Burnt Fuselage lives on thanks to advocates such as cocktail historian and author David Wondrich.
Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with joyous relief of not being part of a burnt fuselage, and strain into a chilled glass. Lemon peel garnish optional.
Despite its ominous name, the Burnt Fuselage is a well structured and lively drink. Given its history, it's appropriate to use all French spirits. In discussing torched Dutch grapes we learned all Cognac is brandy, but all brandy isn't Cognac. Definitely use Grand Marnier. Its distinctive blend of orange liqueur and Cognac really works well. Even though I'm a big fan of Cointreau, an orange liqueur I use in drinks such as the Margarita and Orange Satchmo, my experiment using it in the Burnt Fuselage sort of went down in flames (pun intended).
The Burnt Fuselage is another example of Americans creating cocktails abroad. My guess is Prohibition was a big reason for this pattern in cocktail history. Other examples of Americans creating cocktails abroad include the Pisco Sour, the Boulevardier, and the Mary Pickford.
If you see fit (get it? if not, say it out loud) to try a Burnt Fuselage, you'll be a cocktail ace.