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Culver Cadet

The Culver Cadet is an American two-seat light monoplane aircraft, which was also used as a radio-controlled drone.

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 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.


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.





17 ft 8 in (5.38 m)


27 ft 0 in (8.23 m)


5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)

Wing area

120 sq ft (11.15 m2)

Empty weight

806 lb (366 kg)

Max take-off weight

1,305 lb (592 kg)


1 × Franklin 4AC-176-F3 flat-four piston, 80 hp (60 kW)


Maximum speed

142 mph (229 km/h, 123 kn)


500 mi (805 km, 430 nmi)

Service ceiling

17,000 ft (5,180 m).

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