Inventor Willard Custer standing in front of CCW-5
If the Custer is so good, why hasn't it been produced?
A. It would appear that Willard Custer would not let
anyone else control the patents. He was offered an astronomical sum for
the patents by a large aircraft firm, but it fell through when he insisted
on being part of the engineering staff. His legendary lack of diplomacy
alienated many government contacts, agencies, and backers. Government contracts
only go to those who,"play ball", and Willard wasn't one of those
who did. He knew he was right, had the proof, and wouldn't budge. Consequently,
it was forgotten, and not even taught in Aero Engineering courses. The P-20
and P-50 project fell through when the major backer died. This gave the
competition time to advance the Osprey, and gain the contracts. Since that
time, military purchases have been in the decline. The time would seem ripe
now for the Raider and Devastator, as the Osprey is having problems, leaving
our military with inadequate ability in this area.
P-20 and P-50 seem to be the most advanced Custer design. Can you supply
design specs so that I might look into building a model?
A. No, I can't. The Raider and Devastator design
team is still intact, and holds the designs as proprietary information.
A corporation has been formed to make another attempt at government contracts
and civil VSTOL production. Serious inqueries by established aerospace,
engineering firms, or research facilities will be briefed, but design
specs for casual inquiries are unavailable.
Doesn't the channel become a major drag at high speeds?
A. It does at speeds above above 450 fps (305 mph).
There is a complex drag situation set up between the channel and prop.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to the problem allowing maximum speeds
up to about 350 knots. Above that speed, more power yields less and less
results. You might have noticed that the P-50 Devastator had a Max speed
of 450 kts, but a cruise speed of only 350 kts. This wide difference results
from channel drag.
Q. I've heard that the
asymetrical load on the prop entering and leaving the channel causes fatigue
and eventual failure of the prop.
A. I've heard the same thing, but have found no
evidence. The CCW-5 flew for years, adding up thousands of hours with
the same prop. Even if there was some truth to the assertion, modern materials,
including composits makes it a mute point.
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