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Curtiss 54 Tanager
 
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Designed by Robert R. Osborn and Theodore Paul Wright, the Curtiss Model 54 Tanager was an aircraft constructed in 1929 as Curtiss' entry in the Guggenheim Safe Aircraft Competition organized by Daniel Guggenheim.The purpose of this competition was to create a civilian aircraft with a specific speed range, which allowed at low speeds to avoid accidents with a stall into a tailspin.
 
In accordance with the requirements of the competition, the minimum safe speed was to be 35 mph (56 km / h) but the requirements also indicated a maximum speed of at least 110 mph (177 km / h). Other specifications included a take-off distance from the starting point to a height of 35 feet (10 meters), not exceeding 500 feet (152 meters), the ability to carry two people for three hours and a payload of at least 5 pounds per horsepower (2, 26 kg / hp).
 
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First flying on 12 October 1929, the Model 54 was a conventional biplane design with a highly streamlined fuselage with a closed cockpit that contained a pilot and two passengers. The wings were fitted with a variety of high-lift devices, including automatic leading edge slots on the upper wing, flaps that extended along the entire span of the upper wing, and "floating" ailerons on the lower wing that, in the absence of pilot input, automatically adjusted themselves parallel to the airflow over the wing. To ensure the possibility of flying at minimum speed, the rear edges of both wings were fully occupied by flaps, and the front edges were fully occupied by Handley Page automatic slats. These devices added 33% and 50% to the total lift coefficient, respectively. The combination of these devices gave the Tanager a stall speed of just 31 mph (50 km/h) and allowed it to land in only 90 ft (27 m). The main landing gear had a large shock absorber designed to absorb loads during rough landings and a reinforced fuselage frame in the cabin.
 
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Only the Tanager and the Handley Page Gugnunc passed the qualifying round of the competition, and ultimately, the Tanager was to beat its rival by only one point to claim the $100,000 (£20,000) prize, the Gugnunc failing to achieve a minimum speed below 38 mph. Even before the competition was decided, however, Handley Page was suing Curtiss for the unlicensed use of the leading-edge slot. Curtiss claimed they were using the slots experimentally and would apply for a license for any commercial use. Curtiss counter-sued Handley Page for infringements of six of their patents in the Handley Page machine. They also cited a ruling that the British machine was not permitted to be imported into the US.
 
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Following the competition, the only Tanager built was destroyed in a fire when sparks from its engine set the grass alight.
 
 
Engine: 1 × Curtiss Challenger, 185 hp (138 kW)
Wingspan: 43 ft 10 in (13.35 m)
Wing area: 333 sq.ft (30.93 sq.m)
Length: 26 ft 8 in (8.12 m)
Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Empty weight: 1,958 lb (888 kg)
Gross weight: 2,841 lb (1,289 kg)
Maximum speed: 112 mph (180 km/h)
Cruise speed: 95 mph (153 km/h)
Service ceiling: 12,500 ft (8,810 m)
Rate of climb: 700 ft/min (3.6 m/s)
Range: 535 miles (861 km)
Crew: one pilot
Capacity: two passengers
 
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