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1946 Popular Science article on "Drones"

#1
I came across one of those "They aren't drones!" type threads about multirotors in the comments for a Youtube video that inspired me to do a tiny amount of research online (searched for "drone" and "aerial" in the part of google that graphs language use over time) and that led me to an interesting article.

Somewhere in my memory I remembered remote controlled aircraft used for target practice being referred to as 'drones', so I was pretty sure that "must be capable of autonomous flight" wasn't (isn't) always part of the definition of the word.

Anyway, more fuel for the fire. ;)

Also, it's interesting browsing through the rest of the issue. There are a few other aviation related bits.

https://books.google.com/books?id=_...g&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q="drone"&f=false
 
#2
I did a little more digging and found this film of the U.S. testing radio controlled drones (TDR-1 Torpedo Drones) in 1955.
[video]https://youtu.be/8RQcUtzAe98[/video]

 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#3
The first "drone" was flown on a mission during WWII to blow up Hitler's super weapon/V-weapon. It was known as Operation Aphrodite. Which was a failure.

But the word "drone" is still being used for military, weaponized, remote control aircraft. It wasn't until recently that the word was used for toys and/or a hobby.
 
#5
I did see an article that mentioned attempts to make aerial torpedoes in/around WWI, They functioned like the V1 - pointed in the enemy's direction and launched with a timer to stop the engine at a set time. They weren't accurate enough to be effective and I don't think they were called 'drones'.

I hadn't thought about the military vs civilian terminology before. That's an interesting distinction. There are, of course bees that are drones and they are possibly the bee equivalent of civilian (I haven't looked into the social structure of bee hives lately), but that's not really relevant. Drone can also refer to a continuous, monotonous sound which isn't a bad description of the sound multirotors make when hovering. :)
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#6
The first "drone" was flown on a mission during WWII to blow up Hitler's super weapon/V-weapon. It was known as Operation Aphrodite. Which was a failure.

But the word "drone" is still being used for military, weaponized, remote control aircraft. It wasn't until recently that the word was used for toys and/or a hobby.
Dragging this out of the archives and blowing the cobwebs off because I just saw a Nova PBS program titled "Bombing Hitler's Supergun" about Operation Aphrodite. Not only was this among the first drone programs, but it was also one of the first "FPV" missions!

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/bombing-hitlers-supergun

Azon radio remote-control equipment was added, with two television cameras fitted in the cockpit to allow a view of both the ground and the main instrumentation panel to be transmitted back to an accompanying CQ-17 'mothership'.
They had FPV cameras on the cockpit instruments and a view of the ground so the remote pilot could fly it with more accuracy into its target! Wow.
 
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PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#7
To me "Drone" refers to a "disposable worker" Borg and they aren't very nice at all are they Precious? :p

Thurmond
Hey now.... I R Borg and most certainly not disposable.

As for drones... those get towed behind real aircraft for target shooting.

It was a blast testing Phalanx cis on Nimitz when they were first mounted just before I came aboard. I got to see and hear all of them tests.

If you think the nose gun in an A10 is impressive be around when 4 phalanx lite up.
 
#9
The first "drone" was flown on a mission during WWII to blow up Hitler's super weapon/V-weapon. It was known as Operation Aphrodite. Which was a failure.

But the word "drone" is still being used for military, weaponized, remote control aircraft. It wasn't until recently that the word was used for toys and/or a hobby.
The first drones were actually used in WW1 when Great Britain developed a radio controlled anti-zepplin UAV around 1915-1916. It was called "Aerial Target" or AT for short.
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#11
Male bees are referred to as Drones... And they've been flying longer than any aircraft!
(I used to keep bees till everyone in my neighborhood started using chem-lawn... )