Culver Cadet

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

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

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.

Operational history

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.


Culver LCA Cadet NC41621 HARM Coeur MO 10.06.06R edited-4
1941-built LCA Cadet preserved airworthy in 2006
1940 Culver Cadet
1940 Culver Cadet
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.[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]


 United States

Surviving aircraft

Specifications (Cadet LFA)

General characteristics


See also

Related development


  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.
  18. ^ "Culver TD2C-1". National Air and Space Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  • 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 links

Airpower Museum

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Al Mooney

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Alan Ladd

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His other notable credits include Two Years Before the Mast (1946), Whispering Smith, his first Western and color film, (1948) and The Great Gatsby (1949). His popularity diminished in the late 1950s, though he continued to appear in popular films until his accidental death due to a lethal combination of alcohol, a barbiturate, and two tranquilizers.

Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport

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Eugene Luther Vidal

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In his obituary, Time noted: "Eugene Vidal, 73, pioneer promoter of civil aviation and father of author Gore Vidal; in Los Angeles, Calif. Vidal starred in football at West Point and competed in the decathlon in the Antwerp Olympic Games of 1920. He later taught aviation and coached football at the academy, resigned his commission in 1926 to become assistant general manager of Transcontinental Air Transport (later TWA)."From September 1933 to March 1937 he was Director of the Bureau of Air Commerce (a predecessor of the Federal Aviation Administration) in Washington, where he organized and expanded the government's civil aeronautics program, including creation of the first air traffic control system. Later he served as a director and part owner of Northeast Airlines, and as aviation adviser to the Army Chief of Staff."Vidal became one of the pioneers in the commercial aviation industry and was an executive for three airlines during the 1920s and '30s which developed into TWA, Eastern Airlines, and Northeast Airlines.

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History of unmanned aerial vehicles

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A UAV differs from a cruise missile in that a UAV is intended to be recovered after its mission, while a cruise missile impacts its target. A military UAV may carry and fire munitions on board, while a cruise missile is a munition.

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List of civil aircraft

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Vintage Flying Museum

The Vintage Flying Museum is a non-profit aviation museum located at Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas. The primary mission of the museum is to preserve America's flying heritage in word, deed and action.

Culver aircraft
Civil aircraft
Military target drones
USAAF drone aircraft
Controllable bombs
Target control aircraft
Aerial target (subscale)
Aerial target (full-scale)
USN target drone aircraft pre-1945
Naval Aircraft Factory
USAF drone aircraft designations 1948–1962


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