As a light plane designed for the average flyer, the Model “V” was quite revolutionary in what it offered and the buying/flying public out there was not ready to believe the performance claims.
The lists of advanced features were right out of the future; Tricycle retractable landing gear, variable pitch prop, fuel injection on the Continental C-85-12FJ, and the “Simplifly” control system, an ingenious coupling of the flaps and stabilator with a huge trim wheel between the seats that looked like it belonged in a Zeppelin. With the trim wheel, the pilot would select takeoff setting with the panel mounted indicator and charge down the runway and roll and roll and eventually lift off at about 70 mph. After you climbed to about 200 feet you would start dialing in some flap up and then pull up the electric gear.
Once to cruise, the pilot had dialed into the cruise mode which put the flaps in a re-flex attitude of about 8 degrees. This was supposed to put this little wooden wonder on the step. It never happened; the basic airframe was constructed of bonded plywood and was heavy for all 85 horses.
Once in flight though, the speedster flew very well, light on the controls and the view was terrific. When it came time for landing, the pilot selected “approach” with the trim wheel and indicator, with the gear out and approach flaps out, the sink rate was high. When you timed to “Land” the flaps went completely out (48 degrees) you went in with power – a lot, and if your speed was at least 75 you didn’t have enough elevator for a decent flare, so your arrivals could be definite.
All in all, Model “V” is an airplane that was ahead of its time, but was also behind the times with its wooden construction. Once in the air it’s a delightful little airplane to fly, though it can be a challenge.
Al Mooney deserved credit for what he tried to introduce to the flying public with the “V”.
Culver V NC8442B
Engine: Continental C85-12FJ
Length: 20’ 6”
Wing Span: 29’
Wing Area: 125,9 sq ft
Empty Weight: 1100 lbs
Gross Weight: 1600 lbs
Max. Speed: 135 mph
Cruise Speed: 115 mph
Stall Speed: 55mph
Fuel Cap.: 32 gal
Range: 600 miles