The World War II Photo of the Week
for 24 January 2000
|Antiaircraft Target Drone
Pictured in 1944 is a Culver PQ-8A Cadet antiaircraft target drone. Military records show that this particular drone was at Topeka AAF Station (Kansas) and then the 611th AAF Base Unit (Air Proving Ground) at Eglin AAF Base (Florida) before being transferred to the 4th Tow Target Squadron (First Air Force), Camp Stewart, Georgia. In August of 1940, the United States Government initiated a program to perfect the remote piloting of aircraft by radio control in order to safely train aircraft and antiaircraft gunners. The Culver company, then located at a small plant in Columbus, Ohio, was invited with some twenty other aircraft manufacturers to submit designs. The Culver proposal, utilizing its prewar Culver "Cadet" sport plane design, was the only one accepted, and the company subsequently became the sole production supplier of full size radio-controlled aircraft to both the Army and Navy throughout the war. With the receipt of the first Army contract, the Culver Company moved to a larger factory in Wichita, Kansas, where it devoted its entire production facility to this type of aircraft for the duration. Culver completed its final U.S. Navy contract for the same plane (designated TD2C-1) in April 1946 and thereafter devoted its facility entirely to commercial production. Even though this attractive plane was a drone, it was built with a cockpit to accomodate ferry pilots ot back-up safety pilots. A number of "Cadet" drones were converted to civilian sport planes after the war. Any of you Skylighters ever bag one of these babies at Camp Davis? Did they fly them at Davis? If any reader has information on the use of these planes in general or at Camp Davis in particular, please drop a line to the Webmaster. Photo from the Webmaster's collection.