AQM-34P San Diego Aerospace Museum

The San Diego Aerospace Museum has a Ryan Model 147T AQM-34P that is on display at the Gillespie Field restoration facility. As usual, something can be learned from a preserved aircraft. Initially I thought it was missing the wing-tip anti-flutter weights that are quite prominent on the of the TE and TF (AQM-34Q and R). But the T did not carry pylon tanks (which appear to have been introduced with the TE), and possibly these two are related. The museum does not have a serial number or manufacturer's number in their records, so for the time being this remains an anonymous Firebee.

The museum, by way of Mr. Alan Renga (assistant archivist) and Mr. Tony Beres (curator), kindly provided the following photos.

Craig Kaston paid a visit in December 2005 but found the restoration facility closed. He made one photo from outside the perimeter. It appears that the extreme glossiness as seen above has disappeared, giving the Firebee a more natural appearance. The second photo shows strips of spikes added to prevent birds from sitting on the Firebee and fouling up the display with their deposits.

Craig returned in June 2006 for another attempt, this time successful, although he noted that photographing a black aircraft against a bright blue sky isn't easy! The new photos allow a good study of the nacelle, which was changed on the AQM-34P/Q/R (Model 147T/TE/TF) to allow the installation of a much higher thrust J100 engine instead of the J69. Compared to the Air Force Museum's AQM-34N, the front end of the nacelle was cut back, creating a larger inlet opening. The exhaust is also larger, requiring slightly different contours around the rear of the nacelle. Otherwise the airframe appears identical to the earlier version.

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