Nampa, Idaho, Tuesday, February 28, 2023: The Spirit of Flight Foundation Museum announced that a rare WWII Culver target drone has been donated to the museum collection.
“We have had a Culver PQ-14 Target Drone on our wish list for years, but there aren’t many left of the over 3000 built,” said Gordon Page, President of the Spirit of Flight Foundation.
The U.S. Army Air Corps had a requirement for a radio-controlled target drone for training anti-aircraft artillery gunners in 1940, and Culver answered the call with the PQ-14, sometimes called the Turkey.
The PQ-14 was first flown in 1942 and was delivered to training units shortly after. It was flown unmanned, controlled by radio, but could be flown by a pilot for ferry flights, using a rudimentary control panel installed for that purpose and using their parachutes as a seat. A simple lever turned the pilot-flown drone into a radio control drone.
New to Spirit of Flight: A rare surviving Culver PQ-14. These WWII target drones were blown out of the sky!
“It’s bigger than you think,” said Gordon Page. “The wingspan is 30’ and it’s pretty heavy because of the plywood wooden structure, but I hear it was easy to fly. Without a pilot they were flown from a "mother ship" aircraft,” Page went on to say.
Most of the Culver target aircraft were "blasted out of the sky" by Army anti-aircraft gunners, but a dozen or more survived and they were surplused after 1950. Only five Culver PQ-14s are currently registered with the FAA.
The Spirit of Flight Culver PQ-14 was made possible thanks to a donor who had a spare project that had survived being blown up from target practice.
“We are excited to get the drone shipped to the Spirit of Flight in Nampa, Idaho,” said Page. “We have some work to do once we get it to the museum, but it should go fast and it will eventually hang from the museum ceiling.”
The Culver PQ-14 will compliment a restored Northrup KD2R5 “Shelduck” target drone currently on display at the Spirit of Flight.
“Spirit of Flight has done a wonderful job setting up an amazing collection at the Nampa Municipal Airport,” said former Top Gun instructor and museum volunteer, John Flanagan. He added, “The addition of the new Culver target drone just adds to the incredible stories and displays.”
The Spirit of Flight Foundation has established a PQ-14 project and is inviting supporters to donate to help with the restoration. Information can be found on the museum website at www.spiritofflight.org as well as at the Museum facility.
“We will document the PQ-14 recovery, transport and restoration on our Chasing Planes YouTube channel,” said Gordon Page. “We will also be giving away some PQ-14 collectables to subscribers, so stay tuned!”