That Extra Little Lift
Willard Custer's Channel Wing looked like a mistake. Turns out his critics were the ones who were wrong.
- By Tim Wright
- Air & Space magazine, May 2007
(Page 4 of 4)
Circulation control, however, continues to attract attention. Engineers in Britain are designing an unmanned aircraft that would be controlled only by directed airflow and thrust vectoring, and the Navy is investigating the use of circulation control on Navy submarines, which could use water jets instead of dive planes and rudders. Englar’s extensive wind tunnel tests have also proven that circulation control can reduce drag on tractor-trailer rigs, improve traction on race cars, and help control high-speed race boats.
Meanwhile, Custer’s CCW-1 awaits restoration at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, and the CCW-5 sits forlornly on the tarmac at the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania. They have remained mere curiosities, but thanks to Englar, Bushnell, and renewed interest in short-takeoff-and-landing designs, the channel wing design may one day be transformed from a museum piece to a real, live flying airplane.