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WWII Radioplane Drone Aircraft
July 18, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Multimedia presentation and tour of the Stevenson Outboard Collection.
The drones that we hear about in the news today, with uses ranging from military to fire-fighting to wildlife vaccine delivery, didn’t start out as offensive weapons of war. The fascinating story of drones includes Ronald Reagan and Marilyn Monroe and begins in 1934 with Reginald Denny, an English film star who became an RAF pilot during World War I. After the war Denny emigrated to Hollywood to continue his acting career, but he also loved radio-controlled model airplanes and he founded the Radioplane Company which developed drones to train anti-aircraft gunners. Denny won a U.S. Army contract, and shipped fifteen thousand drones during World War II. During World War II and the Korean War, drone engines were made by outboard manufacturers Mercury Kiekhaefer, and McCullough. By 1952, Northrup Aviation had purchased Radioplane, and drones were on the way to becoming reconnaissance aircraft, then weapons. The successor company today is Northrup Grumman, who makes most of our modern drones.
After the talk Larry Stevenson will conduct a tour of the newly opened Stevenson Outboard Collection, focusing on the outboard motors discussed in the presentation.
Admission is free, a suggested donation of $5 is appreciated.
This talk is presented by outboard motor collector and historian Larry Stevenson. Larry is a Navy and Coast Guard Auxiliary veteran and a retired UPS International Industrial Engineering Manager in the international operation with a passion for industrial design, art, history, and sailing.