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Airpower Magazine, Volume 7 No. 3 May, 1977

The Custer Channel Wing Story

by Walt Boyne

After forty years of pioneering a new concept of lift, Willard R. Custer's ideas are now in the forefront of STOL aviation!

Author's Note: The Custer Channel Wing concept, after almost 40 years of public attention, is still so controversial that this article must be written in two sections. The first covers development of the idea from 1927 to its present (and possibly future) status. The second presents the engineering opinions, pro and con, which have fueled the controversy. Both are included in this article.

Willard R. Custer is a man straight out of American folklore. He is the prototype Yankee inventor, smart, tough, resourceful, unafraid of the machinations of big government, big business, or fate. He believes in his invention, and he knows that sooner or later he will prevail.

Custer is a genuine innovator, for although designers have tried virtually every combination of wing size and shape, and every permutation of engine/propeller placement, it remained for him to combine the two elements in his famous Custer Channel Wing.

The inventor is a friendly, persuasive, energetic, single-minded man who has pursued a fifty year dream with a charming tenacity that has weathered many disappointments. He is convinced that he is right, that he has been right, and that the world has been denied the benefits of the Custer Channel Wing by a combination of misfortune, lack of vision, and, sadly in some instances, simple bad faith. continue...

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