Culver Aircraft Company
PredecessorDart Aircraft Company
Founded1939; 85 years ago (1939)
Defunct1946; 78 years ago (1946)
SuccessorSuperior Aircraft Company
HeadquartersColumbus, Ohio, Wichita, Kansas
Number of employees
130 (1941)

The Culver Aircraft Company was an American aircraft manufacturer of light aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s.


The Dart Manufacturing Corporation was founded in Columbus, Ohio, by Monocoupe dealer Knight K. Culver and Al Mooney to purchase the rights to the Mooney-designed Monosport G from the defunct Lambert Aircraft Corporation.[1] The company was renamed the Culver Aircraft Company in 1939. In December 1939, Culver produced the Culver Model L, later renaming it Cadet. Production was supervised by Al's brother, Art Mooney.[2]

Having moved from Columbus to Wichita, Kansas, after producing 50 aircraft, two retractable-gear models, the LFA and LCA, were introduced, and in 1941 the company was taken over by Walter Beech (founder of Beechcraft) and Charles Yankey.[3] The company switched to subcontract work during World War II. Culver produced a radio-controlled pilotless aircraft based on the LFA for use as target drones. Over 3000 PQ-8/TDC and PQ-14/TD2C gunnery target drones were produced for the USAAF and USN.[4][5]

T. Bowring Woodbury was promoted to president in 1945.[6] That same year, Culver developed the Model V. The V, also known as the M-17, featured a patented flight control system, known as Simpli-Fly Control, which automated a number of flight functions;[7] the system was looked down upon by pilots, and the Model V was not considered a success.[3] The Model V was developed into the XPQ-15 drone, but did not win production orders; not very long after the end of World War II, Culver Aircraft entered bankruptcy, the Mooney brothers departing to form the Mooney Aircraft Company[3] and the manufacturing plant was purchased by the Coleman Company.[8] In 1956, the Superior Aircraft Company was established, purchasing the assets of the Culver Aircraft Company,[9] and put the Model V back into production as the Superior Satellite.[10]


A Culver PQ-14
Model name First flight Number built Notes
Dart G 1938 50
Dart GC 1939 10
Dart GK 1938 25
Dart GW 1939 8
Dart GW Special 1939 2
Cadet LCA 1939
Cadet LFA 1939
Cadet LFA-90 1941
LAR (Army A-8) 1941 Redesignated as PQ-8[4]
LAR-90 (Army PQ-8) 1941 200 [4]
PQ-8A 1941 200 [4]
Q-8A Redesignated PQ-8s.[4]
PQ-10 1940s 0
TDC-1 1941 1 [4]
TDC-2 1941 201 [4]
XPQ-14 1942 1 Converted PQ-8[5]
PQ-14A/TD2C Turkey 1942 1400 [5]
PQ-14B 1100 [5]
XPQ-14C 1 Converted PQ-14B[5]
Q-14 Redesignated PQ-14s[5]
XPQ-15 1945
Culver Model V 1946 90


  1. ^ "Culver TD2C-1". Retrieved 12 Nov 2010.
  2. ^ Joseph P. Juptner. U.S. Civil Aircraft Series, Volume 8.
  3. ^ a b c Murphy, Daryl. "Culver's Travels". Wings Over Kansas. Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Parsch, Andreas. "Culver PQ-8/TDC Cadet". Accessed 2010-11-14.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Parsch, Andreas. "Culver Q-14/TD2C". Accessed 2010-11-14.
  6. ^ "New Culver Head". Aviation News. Vol. 4, no. 15. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 5 November 1945. p. 5. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Culver Model V", August 1946, Popular Science bottom page 30
  8. ^ Wood, Robert H. Aviation News, Volume 7. McGraw-Hill, 1947.
  9. ^ Mondey, David. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Aircraft. New York: A&W Publications, 1978. ASIN B001SLTA1U
  10. ^ Plane & Pilot Magazine. The Plane & Pilot International Aircraft Directory. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995. ISBN 978-0-07-050304-5.