It’s a Canard! So the next question is- what’s a canard?
A canard foreplane may be used for various reasons such as lift, (in)stability, trim, flight control, or to modify airflow over the main wing. Design analysis has been divided into two main classes, for the lifting-canard and the control-canard.:81 These classes may follow the close-coupled type or not, and a given design may provide either or both of lift and control.
Great- that helps a lot-well, no- it doesn’t. Basically, a canard is pretty much anything that’s vaguely winglike on the front of a plane. They’ve been around for a long time in aeronautics. How long? Try the Wright Brothers! That weird little thing on the front of the Kittyhawk is a canard, and it’s on the Cruzer.
The reason for the canard on the Catapult Cruzer is simple. Given the lack of an airfoil on the wings, there needed to be another way to create lift. It works on a simple premise called downwash. The air comes to the canard as it’s being pulled forward by the launch cord and hits the section of the canard that’s angled. This pushes the air downward. Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction or, since air is being pushed onto the canard, it, along with the nose of the Cruzer, is pushed up!