Culver Cadet

Summary

The Culver Cadet is an American two-seat light monoplane aircraft, also as a radio-controlled drone, produced by the Culver Aircraft Company.

Cadet / PQ-8
Culver LCA (N281W).jpg
Culver LCA Cadet
Role Two-seat Light Monoplane
Manufacturer Culver Aircraft Company
Designer Albert Mooney
First flight 1939
Number built 600+
Variants PQ-14 Cadet

Design and developmentEdit

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, introducing 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.

Operational historyEdit

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.

VariantsEdit

 
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-8A
PQ-8 powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290 engine, redesignated Q-8A in 1948, 200 built.
Q-8A
PQ-8A redesignated in 1948.[citation needed]
 
Helton Lark

;TDC-1:One PQ-8 for evaluation by the United States Navy.

TDC-2
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.[1] Helton reported as out of business in 1971.[2]
Helton Lark 95A
Modified Lark 96, with 2 feet (0.61 m) longer fuselage and revised tail surfaces.[1]
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).[3]

OperatorsEdit

  United States

Surviving aircraftEdit

Specifications (Cadet LFA)Edit

General characteristics

  • 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 sq ft (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)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 142 mph (229 km/h, 123 kn)
  • Range: 500 mi (805 km, 430 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,180 m)

See alsoEdit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. ^ a b Taylor 1967, pp. 273–274.
  2. ^ Taylor 1971, p. 320.
  3. ^ Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011–12, page 90. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  4. ^ Poling, Lesley (25 August 2015). "Where is it now? Collections from the former History of Flight Museum". Ohio History Connection. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  5. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT 2017" (PDF). Chico Air Museum. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  6. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N29264]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Culver Cadet LCA". Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM). Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  8. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N34785]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  9. ^ "MUSEUM COLLECTION". Golden Age Air Museum. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  10. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N34856]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  11. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N34864]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Culver Cadet LFA". Vintage Flying Museum. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  13. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N37819]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Museum Hangar 3". Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  15. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N41621]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  16. ^ "1942 Culver LCA(LFA)". Antique Airfield. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  17. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N41725]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation.
Bibliography
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1985.
  • 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.
  • Simpson, R.W. Airlife's General Aviation. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publications. 1991. ISBN 1-85310-194-X.
  • 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.

External linksEdit

  • Culver A-8/PQ-8/TDC Cadet
  • Culver TD2C-1 'Cadet' – Aviation Enthusiast Corner
  • Al Mooney designs
  • High resolution panoramic image of a Culver Cadet
  • www.culvercadet.com