Used by the RAF and Royal Navy to train anti-aircraft gunners from the late 1930s into World War Two, the de Havilland DH82 Queen Bee was the first successful production remote-control target aircraft to enter service — but how did it work?

Under the skin of aviation technology and tactics


In 1930 the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) successfully used a floatequipped Fairey IIIF, fitted with automatic equipment and named the Fairey Queen, as a target aircraft. A cheaper, simpler type was, however, selected for production. A modified development of the de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth, the Queen Bee had a cheaper, more buoyant wooden fuselage from the Moth Major, a larger centre-section fuel tank, catapult spools and strengthening, and screened ignition. A two-axis radio control system was fitted.

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