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Custer Channelwing: Introduction
"Unbelievable Performance"


Inventor Willard Custer standing in front of CCW-5

Q. 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.

Q. The 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.

Q. 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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