Curtiss-Wright Presents Postwar Transport

Peacetime version of Commando incorporates design improvements resulting from world-wide military service; most apparent change is redesigned nose giving better anti-icing and improved visibility.

Curtiss-Wright's first bid for postwar transport business was made late last month when the company presented details of the CW-20E, peacetime version of the C-46 Commando.

Designed, as was its prototype the CW-20, for medium-range operations, the 20E will be a 36- to 42-passenger craft powered by two Wright Cyclone C18-B2 engines giving it a cruising speed of 242 mph. at 10,000 ft.

Conversion from the current C-46 military version entails several basic design changes as the result of worldwide operational experience, including redesign of the nose from contour to near-vertical windshield for improved de-icing and visibility; all-welded, easily removable fuel tanks; improved flight control; increased gross weight and payload; and more powerful engines giving greater speed.

The new nose, which changes the craft's profile, is being incorporated in the current military models. Deep side windows are designed to give greater visibility in landing operations, and the windshields are of the "bird-proof" construction recommended by CAA. Double-pane safety glass equipped with defogging nozzles insures clear vision in cold weather.

Every control surface on the new craft is all-metal; on the military version ailerons have been fabric covered. Aerodynamic balance and spring tabs have been substituted for hydraulic boost on the controls.

Pilots of major airlines cooperated in setting up pilot's cabin arrangements, which include two seats for pilots and a jump seat for a third crew member. All controls have been located forward to eliminate the need for reaching backward. Both fluorescent "black light" and incandescent lighting are provided.

In the mockup shown correspondents. the galley is located just aft of the pilots' cabin. with a Dutch door between it and the passenger cabin for converting the galley into a serving pantry. A special exhaust duct is designed to keep food odors from the passenger cabin. Finished in polished metal, the galley has a Dutch oven, grill, toaster, mixer, and baby bottle warmer, also a separate counter for a snack bar, as well as usual food-serving equipment.

Passenger seats are arranged in pairs flanking a center aisle. Flush-type ash trays are built into the arm of each reclining chair, and each window has a ledge in the lower frame for small personal articles. An overhead rack for hats and small pieces of luggage runs the full length of the cabin, with individual reading lights and service buttons set in the lower surface. Main cabin lighting is contained in a single fluorescent fixture running the full cabin length.

Stewardess quarters are located just aft of the passengers' seats opposite the lefthand entrance door. A desk incorporates control panel for cabin, vestibule, and lounge lights, and heaters and ventilating system, the latter designed to change the air once every minute.

Separate rest rooms have been installed, with windows set above the boudoir table in the ladies' room and flanking the mirror above the wash basin in the men's room.

Mail, cargo, and luggage compartments contain 526 cu ft of space, said to be greater per passenger than in any other transport plane. Both compartments are located below the cabin floor, with access through doors on the right side of the fuselage — away from the passenger entrance.

Like its predecessors, the original CW- 20 (which is still being used by the British Air Ministry) and the C-46, the CW-20E was designed by George A Page, Jr, director of engineering for C-W's Airplane Division, and it follows specifications resulting from an extensive survey conducted by the corporation to determine the type of equipment necessary for medium-range transport operations.

Specifications and Data
Passenger capacity 36-42
Span 108 ft
Length 76.3 ft
Height 21.7 ft
Wing area 1,360 sq ft
Normal gross takeoff wt 48,000 lb
Maximum gross landing wt 46,400 lb
Mfgr's wt empty 32,100 lb
Design useful load 15,900 lb
Maximum payload 12,430 lb
Cruising speed (10,000 ft) 242 mph
Power plant Two 2,200-hp Wright
Cyclone C18-B2
Propellers Three-blade full-feathering
constant-speed Curtiss Electrics

This article was originally published in the November, 1944, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 43, no 11, pp 120, 287-288.
The original article includes a photo of a CW-20E, a photo of a cutaway model of the cabin, and plan and profile of the fuselage.
Photos are not credited, but are certainly from Curtiss-Wright.