AVIATION: The Channel Wing

At California's Oxnard Airport one afternoon last week, Pilot Walt Davidson clambered into a two-engine plane which had a curious, U-shaped bend in each wing. He started it down the runway and, after a run of only 90 ft., the plane soared into the air at 30 m.p.h. Davidson climbed to 1,000 ft., then circled the airport for four minutes before coming in for a bouncy landing at 40 m.p.h.

For Inventor Willard Custer, 54, the test flight of his "channel-wing" aircraft † (TIME, Dec. 17, 1951) proved that it could take off in an incredibly short run. Eventually he...

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