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The Great LSM Twins Group Build ends July 3, 2024 ×

This’d be a cool build.


Clunkmeister

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Curtiss Wright CW-20 prototype. Built to compete head to head with the Douglas DC-3. It was designed to carry twice the load of the DC-3, up to 40 passengers, or 30 first class passengers, was fully pressurized and equipped with two stage superchargers in order to fly over most weather, and was a real winner. But, the world situation interfered and the Army had other plans for the promising design. The rest, as they say, is history. The twin tails were changed early on to improve low speed directional stability and handling. The Army removed the pressurization system along with the fairings to disguise the double bubble fuselage  

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2 hours ago, Peterpools said:

Ernie

Let me see if I understand this correctly. The CW-20 evolved into the CW-30, which evolved into the C-46, all do to the military's design specification changes. Am I close?

 

The CW-20 was a one off civilian airliner that eventually ended up with BOAC. The C-46 was a militarized CW-20. No pressurization, strengthened main gear, floor, cargo door,  Pratt 2800s, etc 

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16 hours ago, Jeff said:

Looks similar to a Condor...

Exactly. Like Peter said, a trailing link is great for absorbing shocks from unimproved strips.   
The C-46 came directly from this one aircraft, the ONLY civilian CW-20 to be built. It literally was pulled straight from Curtiss who was told to cease and desist civilian development and immediately militarize it. 
At the time, it was the largest twin engine aircraft in the world, and remained so for many years. It’s a bigger aircraft than the B-17, and can haul twice what the C-47 hauls, and do it at almost 30,000 ft. It’s also faster and more efficient if fully loaded, but burned a lot of gas and was very expensive to operate if not fully loaded.  A C-47 sipped fuel in comparison. 

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1 hour ago, Clunkmeister said:

Exactly. Like Peter said, a trailing link is great for absorbing shocks from unimproved strips.   
The C-46 came directly from this one aircraft, the ONLY civilian CW-20 to be built. It literally was pulled straight from Curtiss who was told to cease and desist civilian development and immediately militarize it. 
At the time, it was the largest twin engine aircraft in the world, and remained so for many years. It’s a bigger aircraft than the B-17, and can haul twice what the C-47 hauls, and do it at almost 30,000 ft. It’s also faster and more efficient if fully loaded, but burned a lot of gas and was very expensive to operate if not fully loaded.  A C-47 sipped fuel in comparison. 

I heard the C 46 was a bit of a whore in a crosswind landing situation as well.... the tail being the culprit there... and the fat fuselage

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5 hours ago, Jeff said:

I heard the C 46 was a bit of a whore in a crosswind landing situation as well.... the tail being the culprit there... and the fat fuselage

It all had to do with the rudder, yes. The rudder pedal travel felt like about 3 feet deep, way longer than our legs. We’d run out of leg long before we ran out of pedal travel, so we were taught to use the throttles. If you were light and on a slippery taxiway, you were at the mercy of the wind.  

The key on takeoffs was to let the tail fly itself off. The locked tailwheel and differential power was more than enough to keep you straight, but if you tried to lift the tail, you’d quickly head for the hinterland. But if you let it fly itself off, you had rudder authority.  On landing, a tail slightly low wheeler was preferred, then again use the throttles until the tail came down, which happened pretty quick.  I never flew DC-3s, just the C-46, and our Chief Pilot said that’s why he put us straight into the 46. DC-3 guys had big problems transitioning because of the rudder on a 3 was so much more powerful and they’d rely on it.  The 46 was also extremely slippery, believe it or not. You get the nose down, and speed builds quickly. It could and did catch a few guys napping.   But it was a real pleasure to fly.  Actually light and quite balanced on the controls, believe it or not. Not fighter response, but you didn’t need to manhandle it like others of similar vintage.  I’ve heard it said that the B-24 is a two person airplane. Two people on the controls.  So is the 46, but simply because one can’t reach that far, and there’s a lot to do.

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