Radioplane/Northrop MQM-57 Falconer Note: This aircraft is currently located in the Research & Development Gallery, which is scheduled to close Oct. 1, 2015, to prepare for the move to the fourth building. At that time, this aircraft will be placed in storage. Developed in the mid-1950s from the U.S. Air Force's OQ-19 target drone, the MQM-57 became the U.S. Army's first unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. Originally designated RP-71 by Radioplane and SD-1 by the Army, the MQM-57 conducted short-range battlefield photograph or television surveillance. The MQM-57 was launched from a lightweight stand with the aid of two takeoff rockets. A remote ground operator flew the Falconer via radio signals and tracked it by radar. At the end of a mission, the MQM-57 floated to the ground underneath a parachute deployed from the top of the fuselage. Radioplane (later a division of Northrop) built a total of 1,455 Falconers, and the MQM-57 served with the U.S. Army and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) into the 1970s. TECHNICAL NOTES: Maximum speed: 184 mph Range: 100 miles Endurance: 60 minutes Click here to return to the Featured Accessions index.