This web site was inspired by William Wagner's book 'Lightning Bugs and other reconnaissance drones' that I read some ten years ago. Late 2002 this interest turned into a modeling project that I started with fellow modeler Tjepke Heeringa. The search for suitable models and more information brought me in contact with American modelers Larry Engesath, Mark Nankivil and Drew Hill, and their material formed the basis for a few reference pages on my Models web site. Dave Matthews contributed his very large knowledge of the subject, clearing up many technical questions that I had. The amount of material grew fast, and early 2005 I decided to build a website dedicated to the AQM-34. This lead to new contributors of photos and knowledge, notably Craig Kaston, a long time Firebee fan.
Although the AQM-34 is not well known, it is the most important Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) in military history, with 3500 operational missions flown, and it deserves more attention. Its history is only documented in two Teledyne-Ryan sponsored books that only show part of the story, and contain little operator-related details.
On this website, the designations 'AQM-34', 'Firebee' and (Teledyne-Ryan) 'Model 147' are all used. Technically, the early Model 147's were no AQM-34's, since the designation applies to later models only. Likewise, the name 'Firebee' is not official (it is the name of the BQM-34 target drone), but it appears to have been the common name within the Air Force, and it is therefore used too. Lastly, 'RPV' is used instead of the current fashion word 'UAV'.