Custer Channelwing


Clarence: stop secrets...
31 March 2008
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'pologies if this has been done: I did do a search but didn't find anything. It's also a bit tricky to place, since it started in the 1920s, but I've put it here since the greatest effort was put into it post-war.

The Custer Channelwing:
The great Gunston made the very simple observation that if the Custer hypothesis worked - propeller-induced acceleration of air through the duct reduces pressure and creates lift - the only section of the duct where this effect would be 100 per cent lift would be the very bottom, because the force vector would be towards the centerline of the duct. You'd get half the lift at the 45 degree point and none at all at the top of the duct.

Meanwhile, inducing faster airflow over part of the wetted surface is certainly going to create an increased force. Unfortunately it is called drag. (And that is in part what nailed the YC-14.)

I canna alter the laws of physics, captain...
Short film clip of it in flight:

They make the point on that site (in the Q&A) that drag IS a problem and negates the advantages over about 350mph.
Very impressive design actually, especially for the low-speed range he intended to fly at. (~139 kts/160 mph)

Kendra Lesnick
LowObservable said:
I canna alter the laws of physics, captain...

You can get around it in a similar way to Luigi Stipa's barrel plane by changing the aerofoil section as you move upwards. That way you still get net lift, and with Stipa's whole barrel arrangement get enough thrust to cancel out the added drag of the barrel.
it seemed sufficiently interesting for others to investigate....
the Antonov An-181,



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I found those projects for Custer,are those a real designs to him ?.


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I'm not sure if the projects illustrated in "Les avions à aile gouttière de Willard Custer" are real or not. They certainly look plausible (Willard Custer was convinced that most airframes could be advantageously adapted to his Channel Wing concept). The cover shot just looks like the usual PM artist's impression scaled-up from the CCW-1.

Attached are a few projects that can definitely be attributed to Custer.

BTW, the 1947 project with military stars-and-bars and similar tailplane to the Piper PA-23 'Twin Stinson' which suggests a Baumann connection. Baumann built CCW prototypes and, of course, the CCW-5 fuselage was based on Baumann's own B290 Brigadier prototype.

See: for a Custer twin-seat STOL project (bottom of the page). Also on that page, the later but Custer-related 1985-86) P20 Raider and P50 Devastator projects by the Product Development Group (1985-86).


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Two other designs by Custer - the CCW-8 and the CCW-12.

SOURCE: Airpower magazine May 1977


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boxkite said:
Two other designs by Custer - the CCW-8 and the CCW-12.

SOURCE: Airpower magazine May 1977

Nice! The CCW-12's fuselage-mounted engines with cross shaft drives would neatly get around engine-out imbalances. Weight still seems to be the draw back with Custer designs (I note that the CCW-5 weighed 1500 lbs more than the Baumann B-290 twin pusher that it was derived from).
Hi boxkite,

do you have some technical data for this two projects?

Servus Maveric
Thank you my dears Apophenia and Boxkite,

and that means there was many unknown projects,such as,CCW-6,
CCW-7,CCW-9,CCW-10 and CCW-11.
do you have some technical data for this two projects?

and that means there was many unknown projects,such as,CCW-6,
CCW-7,CCW-9,CCW-10 and CCW-11.

Sorry, folks. I've read the article again, but there's nothing inside to answer your questions.


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a STOL tilt rotor aircraft use the channel wing.


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NASA has made available online a series of 26 photographs of the earlier CCW-2 Channel Wing model, as tested in 1952:

Here is some historical background from Wikipedia:

This was an evolution of the CCW-1 as a single-seat test bed and used an adapted uncovered fuselage of a Taylorcraft BC-12 light aircraft, replacing the single engine with two pusher engines fitted each side of the fuselage and placed within the wing channels.[3] The sole example N1375V first flew on 3 July 1948. It was flown for about 100 hours of testing with take-off and landing being made within 45-65 ft. Despite the claim of "flying better than a conventional aircraft" it was calculated that a stock Piper Cub was more efficient, lifting 18 lbs/h.p. versus the CCW-2s 11 lbs/h.p.


For Custer projects;

please see;,4862.0/highlight,custer.html
More footage of the Custer Channelwing, including in flight, in this clip starting at 0:58 or so.
Greetings All -

It appears that at some point Willard Custer spent time at Parks Air College here in St. Louis where I live. I have not been able to determine if he was a visiting speaker or was possibly a teacher here but the Parks Air College archives had these two images of him and a model of his concept. Photos are from the St. Louis University/Parks Air College Collection.

Enjoy the Day! Mark


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Apophenia said:

hesham said:

Both designs seem to have been related, as seen below in this extract from the same Airpower magazine of May 1977 previously mentioned by Boxkite:


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Excellent article in Issue 16 of The Aviation Historian on the Custer Channel Wing designs and proposals. As well as many photos and a diagram of how the wing worked, there are also 3 views of the CCW-1 and CCW5 designs. Pages 106-119 refer, plus a colour image on the rear cover. Also a bit about the NASA Langley work on the concept from the mid-nineties.
Popular Mechanics 0ctuber 1964 link


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the Custercat - please see attachment; anyone knows something about it?


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Nice find Kenfalzon,

but I think it was not the famous Custer,so i will check.


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thanks hesham hope you can find something about this aircraft good luck
kenfalzon said:
thanks hesham hope you can find something about this aircraft good luck

The problem is that aircraft was a WIG concept,its name is familiar with me,I search in many
books about Wing-In-Ground,but nothing I found !.
hesham I am searching on the internet as well but nothing resulted so far
More British Pathé newsreel footage, this time it's test flight footage of the Custer CCW-2 (reg. N1375V), along with film of Willard Custer holding and demonstrating the model of the so-called "1947 project," described and shown in photos attached to Apophenia's earlier post for this topic (,4300.msg38507.html#msg38507).
YouTube - British Pathe: "Freak Plane Passes With Flying Colours (1949)"
From Ailes 11/1956.


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Popular Mechanics 0ctober 1964 link

Here it's.


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Last edited:
The nacelles are the stumbling block.

But with distributed lift—could not the channels fold down as part of the fuselage-and wings ballute out from the end—propellers tied to staggered electric motors offset to fold one in front of the other?
From Aeroplane 1952.


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