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Aviation Week, September 28, 1959

Channel Wing Flown in Demonstration

Front cover Washington--New plans for military and commercial application of the Custer channel wing CCW-5 aircraft were reported here last week by its designer, Willard R. Custer.

Following a demonstration flight of the CCW-5, Custer said the commercial channel wing aircraft will be built in Canada and Florida within eight months.

Air Force's Air Research and Development Command is scheduled to begin an evaluation of the aircraft within the next three to four months.

William Spence, president of Custer Channel Wing of Canada, Ltd., said recently that his firm is establishing a production line at Granby, Quebec, near Montreal, and plans to produce 40 of the CCW-5 channel wing aircraft within the next year. According to Spence, 120 firm orders have been received by his company, with an average deposit of $5,000 for the $55,000 aircraft. Spence said that funds available to the company from a variety of Canadian investors total $5 million.

Plans to use the channel wing in Florida are being made by American Airmotive Corp., of Miami, which specializes in aircraft and engine overhaul and modification. The first conversion to channel wing design by this firm is scheduled to be made on a C-46 transport. Flight demonstration of the conversion is planned for next spring, according to Charles E. Lewis, a member of the board of American Automotive.

Lewis estimates that the channel wing will increase the C-46 cruise speed by 15 to 20%, the range by 5 to 12% and the payload by at least 45%.

One model of the CCW-5 to be built in Canada is flying and was demonstrated earlier this month to representatives of the three military services at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va.

This six-year-old short takeoff and landing aircraft is essentially a five-place Baumann Brigadier with channel wings added.

During the demonstration at Quantico, it showed an ability to climb out of a field at an angle of more than 30 deg. after a ground roll of less than 200 ft. and at about 93% of its 5,000 lb. gross weight. Full stops were accomplished within the same distance on landings.

The flights were made with a strong wind coming in at 90 deg. to the runway, and it was apparent that considerable pilot skill is required to make maximum performance takeoffs. The nose has to be rotated upward at precisely the right moment or the high velocity air stream passing through the channel will bounce off of the ground and strike the bottom of the tail, forcing it up and the nose back down. If proper rotation is made, the horizontal tail can get under the wash from the channel and will be held down.

The company pilot aborted one take-off during the demonstration, apparently because he had waited too long to make his rotation.

Delivery of the CCW-5 to ARDC is scheduled to be made within the next 60 days after Custer has made a final propeller selection.

Upon delivery to ARDC, the aircraft will be instrumented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Flight testing probably will be conducted at a civil field at Canton, Ohio. Results of the ARDC investigation will be made available to all three military services.

The channel wing idea originated with Willard Custer over 20 years ago. Interest in the unusual wing has been sporadic, and there have been sharp differences of opinion among aeronautical engineers as to its value. In 1953, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics evaluated a Piper Cub which Custer had fitted with channel wings (AW June 15, 1953, p.23).

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