Saturday, August 27, 2016

Target kites, 1st I've ever heard of them

The late Dr. Paul Garber, former Historian Emeritus of the National Air and Space Museum, was instrumental as his services as a civilian were loaned to the Navy Department in early December, 1941 and became part of the Navy's Special Devices Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics with a Navy commission in May, 1942.

Dr. Garber devised a controllable Target Kite which was used for gunnery practice; a fully rigged example of his Mk 1 kite, made by Spaulding, is on exhibit with a Mitsubishi "Zero" screened on the kite fabric. Paul Garber became aware that Admiral John H. Towers reported that the Navy required some sort of airborne moving gunnery target; Garber believed that a kite might solve the problem. He worked after hours along with two kite flying buddies, Lloyd Reichert and Stanley Potter, and also with Paul Gwillow, to come up with a rough target kite which had a keel and rudder and could be controlled by two lines. Work on a prototype target kite leading to production began in earnest in the Fall of 1942. Firing tests were conducted in January, 1943 and the first production units from a trial order with Comet Models reached the field for test by May, 1943.  Thanks Steve!

1 comment:

  1. "Paul Gwillow" I suspect was really Paul Guillow, founder of one of the most famous balsa model airplane companies. Guillow's still manufactures kits in Wakefield, MA, 90 years after it started there.