|Cadet / PQ-8|
|Role||Two-seat Light Monoplane|
|Manufacturer||Culver Aircraft Company|
Design and development
The aircraft designer Al Mooney developed an improved version of the Culver Dart, to provide improved performance with a smaller engine. Originally designated the Culver Model L the prototype first flew on 2 December 1939. The aircraft was named the Culver Cadet. Although similar to the previous Dart the Cadet had a semi-monocoque fuselage instead of welded-steel-tube and a retractable tailwheel undercarriage. The first variant (the Cadet LCA) was powered by a 75 hp (56 kW) Continental A75-8 four-cylinder horizontally-opposed piston engine.
The 1941 version was designated the Cadet LFA and introduced a number of refinements and more equipment, and was fitted with a 90 hp (67 kW) Franklin engine. Production was brought to an end after the United States entered World War II in December 1941, but the Cadet had found export orders, including to Uruguay, and had a new military role.
The Cadet was one of six models that Al Mooney designed during his eight years at Culver. He would leave to found Mooney Aircraft.
In 1940 the Cadet LCA was selected by the United States Army Air Corps as being suitable for use as a radio-controlled target. The first aircraft was designated the Culver A-8 (later the XPQ-8) and was based on the Cadet LFA but had fixed tricycle landing gear. After successful tests a production order for 200 was placed, and designated the PQ-8, later another 200 were ordered with a more powerful engine as the PQ-8A. In late 1941 the United States Navy acquired a PQ-8A for evaluation and then ordered 200 in 1941 as the TDC-2. An enlarged and improved version was later built as the Culver PQ-14.
Several Cadets, with both military and civilian origins, are still (2012) airworthy in the United States and some are preserved in airworthy condition by museums.
- Cadet LCA
- Initial production version powered by a 75 hp (56 kW) Continental A75-8.
- Cadet LFA
- Improved variant with an 80 hp (60 kW) Franklin 4AC-176-F3, Franklin 4AC-176-D2, or Franklin 4AC-176-D3 engine, and a full electrical system and engine starter.
- Cadet LFA-90
- Limited edition variant with a 90 hp (67 kW) Franklin 4AC-199-E3 engine.
- LAR (Army A-8)
- Initial designation of military radio-controlled drone version, later redesignated PQ-8.
- LAR-90 (Army PQ-8)
- Initial production military drone version, 200 built.
- PQ-8 powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290 engine, redesignated Q-8A in 1948, 200 built.
- PQ-8A redesignated in 1948.
- One PQ-8 for evaluation by the United States Navy.
- Production version of the PQ-8A for the Navy, 200 built.
- Helton Lark 95
- Development of Cadet by Helton Aircraft Corporation of Mesa, Arizona. Powered by 90 horsepower (67 kW) Continental C90-16F engine. FAA type approved in September 1966. 15 Lark 95s delivered in 1966. Helton reported as out of business in 1971.
- Helton Lark 95A
- Modified Lark 96, with 2 feet (0.61 m) longer fuselage and revised tail surfaces.
- Aero Systems Cadet STF
- Plans-built "optimized" Cadet design, offered by Aero Systems of La Mesa, California, United States in 2010. The plans call for a wood and steel structure, with a 100 hp (75 kW) Continental O-200 powerplant, producing a cruise speed of 135 mph (217 km/h).
- On display at the Historical Aircraft Squadron Museum in Carroll, Ohio. It is on loan from the Ohio Historical Society, who acquired it from the Ohio History of Flight in 2000.
- 133 – LCA on display at the Chico Air Museum in Chico, California.
- 236 – LCA on display at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon.
- 269 – LFA on display at the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel, Pennsylvania.
- 274 – LFA on display at the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana, Ohio.
- 330 – LFA-90 on display at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
- 380 – LCA on display at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Maryland Heights, Missouri.
- 443 – LCA on display at the Airpower Museum in Ottumwa, Iowa.
- 120035 – TD2C-1 in storage at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility of the National Air and Space Museum in Suitland, Maryland.
Specifications (Cadet LFA)
- Crew: two
- Length: 17 ft 8 in (5.38 m)
- Wingspan: 27 ft 0 in (8.23 m)
- Height: 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
- Wing area: 120 ft² (11.15 m²)
- Empty weight: 806 lb (366 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 1,305 lb (592 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Franklin 4AC-176-F3 flat-four piston, 80 hp (60 kw)
- Taylor 1967, pp. 273–274.
- Taylor 1971, p. 320.
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- "ANNUAL REPORT 2017" (PDF). Chico Air Museum. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "FAA REGISTRY [N29264]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Culver Cadet LCA". Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM). Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- "FAA REGISTRY [N34785]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "MUSEUM COLLECTION". Golden Age Air Museum. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
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- "Museum Hangar 3". Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
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- "FAA REGISTRY [N41725]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation.
- "Culver TD2C-1". National Air and Space Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
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- Mondey, David. American Aircraft of World War II (Hamlyn Concise Guide). London: Bounty Books, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7537-1461-4.
- Mormillo, Frank B. "Defenceless Warrior: Culver's PQ-14 Drone." Air Enthusiast, Issue 93, May/June 2001.
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- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1967–68. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1968.
- Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1971–72. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1971. ISBN 0-354-00094-2.
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