Kaiser-Fleetwings pilotless bombers


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In AVIATION, September 1946, I've found these photo of the Kaiser-Fleetwings
XBQ-2A and the YPQ-12A "pilotless bombers".
Does some of the sources mentioned in the thread about the similar Interstate drones
give more information, perhaps even drawings ?
(sorry for the bad quality, those old issues are forbidden to be copied or scanned,
so the only solution is to take photos)


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The BQ- designator refered indeed to the "pilotless bomber" types (exemplified by the later BQ-7 and BQ-8 versions of the B-17 and B-24 bombers), while the PQ- designator was used for "aerial targets" (replacing in fact the former A- series starting with the A-8/PQ-8 Culver Cadet.

Please note that the Erco Ercoupe was also tested next to the Kaiser-Fleetwings YPQ-12A, but as the XPQ-13A, so I believe these were competing designs, hence the resemblance.
You migth want to go to http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app1/bq-1.html and http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app1/pq.html for more information.

the BQ means Bomb Guided,and the PQ means Aerial Target Manned.
This may be stating the obvious but the Fleetwings Model 36 was of moulded plywood construction while the Erco YO-55/XPQ-13s were made of aluminum.

In 1941, Erco got Vidal to design a moulded plywood fuselage for their planned birch and plywood Ercoupe. Two wooden Ercoupes were completed in 1941, the same year that PQ-12s were produced. It seems unlikely that the Ercoupe providing anything other than layout inspiration. Unless Vidal is the connection. Does anyone know of any Kaiser-Fleetwing dealings with Vidal Research Corp.?
I currently have a '46 'Coupe in my shop for inspection. Other than being similar in layout, that's about it, altho the tail looks quite a lot like it came off an Ercoupe, no doubt. However, the rear edge of the cowl is different, as is the aft fuselage & I can see that wings trailing edges are tapered, where the 'coupe's is straight. It looks like a thinner airfoil, too. The landing gear struts look too tall, but it's really hard to tell anything about them with all those fairings other than that. So, IMHO, just another case of looking similar, but certainly not much to say it's based on the Ercoupe.

Apophenia said:
This may be stating the obvious but the Fleetwings Model 36 was of moulded plywood construction while the Erco YO-55/XPQ-13s were made of aluminum.

In 1941, Erco got Vidal to design a moulded plywood fuselage for their planned birch and plywood Ercoupe. Two wooden Ercoupes were completed in 1941, the same year that PQ-12s were produced. It seems unlikely that the Ercoupe providing anything other than layout inspiration. Unless Vidal is the connection. Does anyone know of any Kaiser-Fleetwing dealings with Vidal Research Corp.?
Most probably the Air Corps specification called for a light twin-tail single-engine aircraft, and there were not many ways to get about it, really...
Jemiba, thank you for the interesting article.

There is a mistake in the text near the photo. You may see the number on the fin 42-79561. So it's not XBQ-2A, but XBQ-1 (also mentioned as XBQ-1P).

The differences are:
1. Gear legs are not jettisonable in XBQ-1P.
2. XBQ-1P has opposite engines.

The number of XBQ-2 (also known as XBQ-2A) was 42-79562 (see, for example, Aerofiles.com).
Both aircraft had Fleetwing designation "Model 37".
Well, as nobody came up with a 3-view, I've tried on my own, using the available
photos, thanks for your help. Externally, I couldn't find other differences between
the XBQ-1 and the -2A, than the engines. Both aircraft had a landing gear, that
doesn't look jettisonable, as to my opinion wheel spats would have made no sense
then, but of course the mechanism isn't visible. Clues and critics welcome ! ;)


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Awesome stuff! Jemiba, you must have spent a great deal of time on these, but it sure was worth it!

As for differences between BQ-1 and -2, here's what I have:

XBQ-1: two opposite inline engines, also mentioned as XBQ-1P; fixed tricycle landing gear (legs not jettisonable), 2 x 225 hp engines
XBQ-2: similar to BQ-1 but jettisonable gear legs and no opposite engines
XBQ-2A: radial engines, jettisonable landing gear, and a 2,000 pound bomb load; possibly the same aircraft re-engined

Can anyone add to this or correct it?
Here's the other one of the mentioned Kaiser-Fleetwings radio controlled aircraft. Thanks
to copies I've got from lark, we even have 3 versions of it : A piloted one (for ferrying or
test flying), a radio controlled target and a bomb version. As nearly all photos were made on
the ground, I'm still unsure about the correct planform of the wing, but at least it can be
seen, that it was a trapezoidal wing and a rectangular tail plane, obviously different from the
Alon Ercoupe.


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An item on the PQ-12 from a 1946 issue of Flying magazine.


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[font=]The PQ-12 was de Fleetwings 36.[/font]
[font=]One XPQ‑12 was ordered with serial 41‑39057 but was later cancelled. [/font]
[font=]A single XPQ‑12A was built with serial 41‑39098. This was followed by the YPQ‑12A of which 50 were ordered but only 8 were completed with serials 41‑39049/39056. 40 originally ordered as YPQ‑12A were to be completed as PQ‑12A with serials 41‑39058/39097 but these were cancelled. [/font]

[font=]The photo is from the collection of Bill larkins.[/font]


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As for the BQ-1, this was a Fleetwings 37

span: 48'2", 14.68 m
length: 27'9", 8.46 m
engines: 2 Franklin O-405-7
max. speed: 225 mph, 360 km/h

The XBQ‑1 was a twin engined radio controlled assault drone missile with provision for a pilot. One aircraft was built with serial 42‑79561. It crashed on its first flight 17 July 1944 and the programme was cancelled in May 1944. Studies resulting in the design were undertaken as project MX-53.

]And BQ-2, no mention of the Fleetwings type number.

span: 48'2", 14.68 m
length: 27'9", 8.46 m
engines: 2 Lycoming R‑680-13
max. speed: 204 mph, 328 km/h
[font=]The XBQ‑2 was based on the XBQ‑1 but was to be fitted with Lycoming XO‑435-3 engines and jetisonable landing gear. It was not built.
[font=]One example of the XBQ‑2A was built with serial 42‑79562. The programme was terminated in December 1943 by which time the aircraft had been redesignated as ZXBQ-2A. Studies resulting in the design were undertaken as project MX-53.[/font]
I don't remember the source of the BQ-2 photo.


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Air Service Technical Command documents I have read said the following regards the YPQ-12A airplane in documents on the "Abusive" or "Weary Willie" drone program --

"The possible accuracy of this system was demonstrated in October
1943 when a YPQ-12A airplane, equipped with the inferior Block 1 television
equipment, was expended against a 30 foot square target. The point
of impact was only 30 feet from the target."

The Block 1 television system came from the US Navy's TDR-1 program. The TDR-1 guidance system was the basis of the PB4Y-1 Liberator drone that U.S.N. special air unit, codenamed Project Anvil, prepared for Joseph Kennedy Jr to fly in 1944.





After Project Anvil literally blew up in the US Navy's face during the Operation Crossbow hunt for German V-1 Buzz Bomb sites (killing Joseph Kennedy Jr in the process) it abandoned the TDR-1 guidance technology to the USAAF. The USAAF then replaced the "Double Azon" system cobbled together by the 8th Air Force and proceeded with the "Weary Willie" program using the superior TDR-1 TV guidance system, AKA "Castor".

See --


Just before the end of WW2, the "Weary Willie" program was renamed the "Abusive" program. This utterly confused post-war histories as most immediate unclassified post WW2 documents did not include the "Abusive" code words and no one publishing later WW2 histories has bothered to look up the declassified "Abusive" documents decades later.

The Weary Wille & Abusive code word equivalents work out as follows:

Control plane CBQ-17 was the "Willie Mother" under the "Weary Willie" code word and "Bluefish" under the "Abusive" code word.

The B-17 missile XBQ7 or B-24 missile XBQ8 without TV guidance was was known as "Willie Baby" under the "Weary Willie" code word and was "Cottongrass" under the "Abusive" code word. Either name refered to a area target/buzz bomb equivalent that came in three different versions with preset guidance, some or complete ground control.

The same B-17 & B-24 missiles with TV guidance were "Willie Orphan" and "Corticated" under the respective "Weary Willie" and "Abusive" code words. These also came in three versions with a mother ship and varying degrees of TV and radar beacon guidance.
Good Day All -

From the Gerald Balzer Collection, the YPQ-12A and the XBQ-2A.

Enjoy the Day! Mark


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Late to the party, but I have some info and pics to add.

My Dad was the chief test pilot for Fleetwings from the late 30's through the mid '40's.

As mentioned above, the twin engine plane is the XBQ-1; I've attached the Fleetwings pic that was used in the article.


The third pic posted by Mark Nankivil of the XBQ-2A has my Dad in the cockpit. Here's the colorized version of the pic:
Fleetwings XBQ-2A Dada.jpg

I have some of my Dad's logbooks from that era. From Logbook 6A: The XBQ-2 "Initial Test Flight" was August 21,1943. The XBQ-1 "First Test Flight" was January 16,1944 (but I'm thinking it was mis-dated as to year. During this time, his logbooks are jumbled and have many hand writings - info transcribed into his personal logbooks from the aircraft logbook(s) as time permitted).

Currently a webpage is being constructed about my Dad; his logbooks 2 to 5 are currently online if you're curious. Logbook 6A will also be online at some point after scanning issues are resolved).

His webpage can be found here:

Now as to the other Fleetwings project mentioned above, the PQ-12, I've got some more pics to share and then a couple mysteries you can help me solve. The pics:
X Targeta.JPG X Target_Backa.JPG

In Logbook 5, on December 5,1941 he recorded "1st Test Flight" for the "Fleetwings R.A.T. 9" NX Army 37010 with a Franklin Super Charged 175 at Brewster Field in Hatboro PA. He flew it through March, 1942. Per his hand written note, he unfortunately misplaced Logbook 6 at Wright Field, so the record of many hours are missing. He last flew YPQ-12's #s 139050 and 139051 in June, July, and August 1943. He listed the engine in those planes as "LYC 225HP".

Below edited March 10,2023:
Based on the letter I posted below, I now believe the tail number is 139049 (not ...45 as I thought earlier). It is in the series of YPQ-12's produced (139049 to 139056).

Mark Nankivil has identified the plane first pictured (X Target) as a Fleetwings OQ-1 Radio Airplane Target based on a pic from the USAF National Museum.

Below edited March 11,2023:
Found some pics of the "R.A.T. 9"; it's XPQ-12A (41-39098). See pics below.
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Pics of the "R.A.T. 9" - Fleetwings XPQ-12A:
XPQ-12A Pic1Backa HLA.JPG
Dad's the pilot in the above pic.
XPQ-12A Pic2Backa HLA.JPG
Note the cowling difference compared to the YPQ-12A (different engines).

Based on the date on the back of the second pic, as suspected, his Logbook 6 would have listed these flights. (Logbook 6 was lost).
To go with PhanDad's posts, the book "Unmanned Systems of World Wars I and II by H.R. Everett has an excellent overhead shot of the Fleetwings A-1. Elsewhere in the book, the XPQ-12A is covered with an excellent side view image that appears to be the same hangar in PhanDad's first image in post #24.

The book notes that only one A-1 was built in 1939 - 20 foot wingspan, 80 hp engine and had a top speed of 180 mph and a ceiling of 10,000 ft.

Enjoy the Day! Mark


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Mark - thanks for posting the overhead pic of the Fleetwings A-1.

Apparently Dad flew it as well:
A-1.JPG He listed the engine at that time as a 65HP Continental.
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Should anyone be near this archive in Bristol, PA, (Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library) 680 Radcliffe Street,
I request that you also copy the following file on the XA-39 attack aircraft:

US Army XA-39 Fleetwings Model 39, circa 1939-1945
File — Box: 5.1, Folder: 2
Identifier: 5.1.2

And these on the Kaiser XBTK:

US Navy XBTK-1 Fleetwings Model 44 Dive Bomber, 1944-1956
File — Box: 5.1, Folder: 7
Identifier: 5.1.7

3/4 Right Rear View XBTK, 1945 March 14
File — Box: 5.4, Folder: 1
Identifier: 5.4.1

SNJ -- XBTK 1, 1943
File — Box: 5.4, Folder: 2
Identifier: 5.4.2

And finally the Huff-Daland file:
Huff-Daland/Keystone Aircraft Corp., 1928 - 1944
File — Box: 5.1, Folder: 15 Identifier: 5.1.15

Many thanks in advance!

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