NOVA/PBS NOVAPBS
DH.82B Queen Bee (UK)
The Queen Bee, the first returnable and reusable UAV, was designed for use as an aerial target during training missions. Anti-aircraft gunners in the Royal Navy practiced shooting them down at first sight. The spruce-and-plywood biplanes first flew in 1935 and bore wheels (for launch from an airfield) or floats (for use at sea). The Queen Bee was radio-controlled and could fly as high as 17,000 feet and travel a maximum distance of 300 miles at over 100 mph. A total of 380 Queen Bees served as target drones in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy until they were retired in 1947.

Back Next