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Radioplane BTT

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Radioplane Shelduck.JPG
Radioplane Shelduck on display at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum
Role Target drone
National origin United States
Manufacturer Radioplane, Northrop
Number built >73,000

The Radioplane BTT, known as RP-71 by the company, as WS-426/2 by the United States Navy, and as WS-462/2 by the US Air Force, is a family of target drones produced by the Radioplane Company (later a division of Northrop).[1]

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  • Not Your Average Museum - The National Museum of the United States Air Force


So a little while ago I found myself in the middle of Central Ohio for a couple of days and I didn't have anything to do and I was like What is there to do in central Ohio? This is not your average museum. It's not just a stop on your way by as you're passing through, This is a destination. I you want to see planes, rockets and military memorabilia tracing the history of flight from its earliest inceptions to modern warfare, it's time to start planning your next vacation to Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace other aviation. You probably know that the Wright brothers flew their first powered airplane near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. But make no mistake: the Wright Flyer was developed and built in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, Where they returned after their successful 1903 powered air flights and founded the Wright company in 1909 to manufacture aircraft for the US Government. From drones, to ICBM's, and decommissioned nuclear bombs: if it was flown or used by the United States Army Air Corps. or the United States Air Force, this museum probably has it, including the only B-2 stealth bomber on display, the original F-22 Raptor prototype, and its competition, the YF-23 prototype, the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber the X-32 Joint Strike Fighter, The VZ-9AV Avrocar flying saucer, and hundreds of other unique and fantastic aircraft from throughout history. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. it has two times more exhibition and maintenance space than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, clocking in at a whopping 1 million square feet on a four hundred acre plot just outside the home of the Wright Brothers. At a brisk pace it'll take you hours, if not days, to go through all of the exhibits. So spend a day. Spend two. Or if you're like me, spend a week Sign up to visit the Presidential in R&D Galleries, or book your guided tour through the museum's restoration area. Did I mention that admission is free? imagine he aerial acrobatics and skill of pilots engaged in the dog fights between piston driven planes like the American P-51 Mustang and the British Spitfires flying against the Japanese Mitsubishi 0 and the German Messerschmitt Me 262: the world's first jet-powered fighter aircraft Crawl through the bomb bay of a B29 Superfortress, and fly to the history and evolution aerial warfare from the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict with the F-84 Thunderjet, the Mig 15, the b52 Stratofortress bomber, the Mig-21 and the F-4 Phantom II Meet advanced stealth aircraft, like the F-117 Nighthawk. Find yourself in the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon. Or make friends with two of my favorite planes: the SR-71 Blackbird, and the A-10 warthog. And if the weather's nice, take a stroll through the outdoor airpark, where massive cargo planes are on display like the C-60 Lodestar, the C 130 Hercules, or the actual c17 plane that was used in the movies Iron Man and Transformers. Nothing can compare to being dwarfed by B-1B supersonic bomber, or standing next to a decommissioned thermonuclear warhead with enough power to destroy a city ten times over. If you love planes, then you have your next vacation destination. Or, if you can't make it to Ohio, take a virtual tour the galleries online and donate museum foundation to help to preserve these aircraft for future generations, and to help the museum with its planned expansion into a fourth aircraft hangar. You can find the links to the virtual tour and donation page in the description below. So bring your camera, make a video to share and subscribe to Tech Laboratories for more videos that I filmed while visiting the museum. If you think that a museum like this is where planes go to die, Think again! This is airplane heaven! This is where airplanes go to live for ever. For Tech Laboratories, I'm Tech Adams saying Keep Thinking And thanks for watching!


In the post-World War II period, Radioplane followed up the success of the OQ-2 target drone with another very successful series of piston-powered target drones, what would become known as the Basic Training Target (BTT) family (the BTT designation wasn't created until the 1980s, but is used here as a convenient way to resolve the tangle of designations). The BTTs remained in service for the rest of the 20th century.


OQ-19 / KD2R

Original OQ-19 on display at Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum
Original OQ-19 on display at Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum
Communications hardware for the BTT on display at the Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum
Communications hardware for the BTT on display at the Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum

The BTT family began life in the late 1940s, evolving through a series of refinements with the US Army designations of OQ-19A through OQ-19D, and the US Navy name of Quail with designated KD2R. Early models had a metal fuselage and wooden wings, but production standardized on an all-metal aircraft.

Radioplane developed an experimental XQ-10 variant that was mostly made of plastic, but although evaluations went well, it wasn't considered a major improvement over existing technology, and it did not go into production.

Radioplane was bought out by Northrop in 1952 to become the Northrop Ventura Division, though it appears that the "Radioplane" name lingered on for a while.

MQM-33 / MQM-36

In 1963, when the US military adopted a standardized designation system, the surviving US Army BTT variants became MQM-33s and the KD2R-1, the only member of the family still in Navy service, became the MQM-36 Shelduck.

The MQM-36 was the most evolved of the BTT family, but retained the same general configuration as the other members. It was larger and more sophisticated than the first-generation OQ-2A series, and was powered by a more powerful flat-four four-stroke McCulloch piston engine with 72 hp (54 kW). The MQM-36 carried Luneberg lens radar enhancement devices in its wingtips that generated a radar signature of a larger aircraft. The radar reflectors (Luneberg lens) wasn't used by the US Navy as the air search radar interfered with the control signals. Thus the air search radar was not used.

Launch was by RATO booster or bungee catapult, and recovery by parachute.

MQM-57 Falconer

A variant of the BTT designated the RP-71,[2] also known as the SD-1 Observer and later redesignated MQM-57 Falconer,[3] was built for battlefield reconnaissance, with first flight in 1955. The Falconer was similar in appearance to the Shelduck, but had a slightly longer and stockier fuselage. It had an autopilot system with radio-control backup, and could carry cameras, as well as illumination flares for night reconnaissance. Equipment was loaded through a hump in the back between the wings. Although it only had an endurance of a little more than a half-hour, making it of limited use, about 1,500 Falconers were built and the type was used internationally with several different military forces, remaining in service into the 1970s.

Over 73,000 BTT targets were built in all, and the type was used by at least 18 nations. Some may still be lingering in service.


 United Kingdom

Surviving aircraft

KD2R on display at the Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum
KD2R on display at the Aviation Unmanned Vehicle Museum
United Kingdom
United States

Specifications (MQM-36)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67.[21]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 13 ft 7 in (4.14 m)
  • Wingspan: 11 ft 6 in (3.50 m)
  • Height: 2 ft 7 in (0.79 m)
  • Wing area: 18.72 sq ft (1.74 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 7.0:1
  • Empty weight: 273 lb (124 kg)
  • Gross weight: 403 lb (183 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × McCulloch O-100-2 , 72 hp (53 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 202 mph (324 km/h, 176 kn)
  • Stall speed: 67 mph (108 km/h, 58 kn)
  • Range: 207 mi (333 km, 180 nmi)
  • Endurance: 1 hours
  • Service ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,500 ft/min (17.8 m/s)



  1. ^ Jacobs, Horace; Whitney, Eunice Engelke. Missile and Space Projects Guide 1962, Springer, 1962, p. 224.
  2. ^ "Pilotless Photo Drone Takes Aerial Pictures" Popular Mechanics, June 1956, p. 144 bottom article.
  3. ^ Newcome, Laurence R. (2004). Unmanned Aviation: A Brief History of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. p. 73. doi:10.2514/4.868894. ISBN 978-1-56347-644-0.
  4. ^ "Shelduck". South Australian Aviation Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Doelvliegtuig Northrop KD2R-5 registratienummer KL-110". NMM (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  6. ^ Curtis, Howard J. (12 October 2020). "Bournemouth Airport Residents List". The 'AirNet' Web Site. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Northrop SD-1 Drone". IWM. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  8. ^ "BGM-34B ATTACK & MULTI-MISSION RPV". AUVM. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Northrop KD2R5 "Shelduck" Basic Training Target Drone". Western Museum of Flight. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Radioplane MQM-33". Estrella Warbirds Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ "RCAT". U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Northrop 'Shelduck' Target Drone". The Canadian Museum of Flight. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Radioplane/Northrop MQM-57 Falconer". National Museum of the United States Air Force. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Fuselage, Drone, Target, Radioplane OQ-14". National Air and Space Museum. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Object Record [Target Drone]". National Model Aviation Museum. Academy of Model Aeronautics. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  16. ^ "OQ-19A Drone". Air Victory Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Museum Exhibits". Alaska Aviation Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Radioplane OQ-19D". National Museum of the United States Air Force. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Radioplane OQ-19D". Alaska Veterans Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  20. ^ "RADIOPLANE OQ-19D (MQM-33B)". Pima Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  21. ^ Taylor 1966, p. 377.


  • Newcome, Lawrence R. (2004). Unmanned Aviation: A Brief History of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. doi:10.2514/4.868894. ISBN 978-1-56347-644-0.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1966.
  • This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.
This page was last edited on 19 May 2023, at 02:40
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