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Pre-WW2 Military and Naval Aviation Please use this forum to discuss Military and Naval Aviation before the Second World War.

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Old 9th March 2018, 21:25
Leendert Leendert is offline
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DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

Looking for the first operational use (month/year) of the DH.82 Queen Bee wireless controlled aerial target airplane, either RAF or Royal Navy (HMS Argus or FAA in general).
Flightglobal Archives first mention the type as early as 1935, but its use appears to have started before.

In the US there were the Culver PQ-8 and PQ-14 Cadet radio controlled types for the same target practice purposes.

Thanks fo any info.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 10th March 2018, 20:26
DuncanM DuncanM is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

There is an exchange of letters in:

THE MEDITERRANEAN FLEET,1930–1939
Edited by
PAUL G. HALPERN

which state that the Fairey Queen drone was used in trials during May 1933, with HMS London shooting one down on 30 May 1933. (pages 27-28).

The Queen Bee was a related development of the above and Admiral Fisher states on page 73:

Quote:
We have started our Queen Bee(1) firings. Going slow with the attack on
them so as to preserve their lives, but despite firing one gun at a time with
powder filled shell, we have shot down 3 out of the four at 8000′.
(1) De Havilland ‘Queen Bee’, a radio-controlled version of the well-known trainer the
‘Tiger Moth’. It first flew in January 1935 and a sea-plane version could be catapulted from
warships for gunnery exercises by the Fleet. By the time production ended in July 1944 a
total of 380 had been built. Owen Thetford, British Naval Aircraft since 1912, 4th edn
(London, 1978), p. 387.
The USN spurred the use of target drones after a USN Admiral witnessed the Queen Bee being used as a target. See:

http://earlyradiohistory.us/1963hw40.htm
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Old 10th March 2018, 22:42
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

A lot of background here, including the first Fairey Queen flight tests apparently in 1932.

http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNe...ll-Drones.aspx
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Old 10th March 2018, 22:56
DuncanM DuncanM is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

This is also interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HACS#cite_note-19

As this puts Queen Bee first use in 1935.
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Old 11th March 2018, 08:41
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

Thanks for pointing me to the interesting links. A part of aviation history not very well known to me..

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 11th March 2018, 11:09
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

The files at TNA concerning the Queen Bee project start in 1932. I have not seen these files but their titles/descriptions can be found in the online catalogue.

HTH
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Old 20th April 2018, 07:57
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: DH.82 Queen Bee - wireless controlled air target plane

All

Some small corrections.
The Queen Bee was never called DH.82 (or DH.82B as other sources state)
Thge aircraft was in fact a DH 60 fuselage using DH.82 wings. At no point in any remaining de Havilland files is any type number used. Not on any drawings or correspondance. The first prototype was referred to as a "Special Moth".
In correspondance is found titles such as "Tiger Moth with Wooden fuselage", Wooden Tiger Moth" and Special Machine for Catapult and Automatic Pilot research" but never any type number.

The first user of the Queen Bee was the Admiralty who ordered a few already in late 1933 and these entered service already early in 1934 with RAE. Two of these were sent to Malta in April 1934. Since you probably don't accept RAE as operational use, I would then say that May 1934 was its debut. Both K3598 and K4044 arrived to Hal Far on May 2nd.

Cheers
Stig
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