Science: Flying Tubes

Willard Custer has never forgotten the day back in 1925 when he had to dive into a barn to escape a big wind roaring through the Back Creek Valley of West Virginia. A few minutes later the roof took off. Custer, who knew that an airplane wing generates lift by moving through the air, wondered what force had raised the roof. After all, he reasoned, the barn had been standing still before the roof soared into space. No engineer, 26-year-old Willard Custer tackled the problem with an open mind.

Once he had learned that air, moving over a still airfoil, also generates...

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