In 1937, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, renowned
aircraft designer Al Mooney joined Culver as chief engineer.
During those few years, Mooney spearheaded the design and
production of the Culver Cadet. The aircraft quickly gained a
reputation for its speed and efficiency; Mooney’s Culver
Cadet design, featuring retractable landing gear, was unheard of in
The hand-cranked retraction and extension mechanism proved
popular due to its reliability; small Plexiglas windows located on
the floor of the cockpit allowed pilots to check the placement of
the gear. Mooney’s revolutionary design allowed the
Culver Cadet to reach a cruise speed of more than 120mph, making it
poplar among the “business aviation” crowd of its
By the start of World War II, Culver had completed over 350
Cadets on the production line; however, with the U.S.’s
entrance into the War, the company’s focus shifted towards
Culver submitted a radio-controlled drone version of the Cadet
LFA to the U.S. Amy Air Corps; shortly thereafter, the USAAC
selected Culver’s design and ordered two versions (eventually
known as the PQ-8 and PQ-8A). When the war ended, Culver Aircraft
struggled against the flood of surplus military aircraft.
Unfortunately, the company folded causing the Culver Cadet
production to cease.
It is understandable then, given the rarity of the aircraft, why
antique aviation enthusiasts are impressed the Morris family. They
have restored not one, but two Culver Cadets. It took to years for
Lorraine Morris and her husband, Ken Morris, to fully restore their
1941 Culver Cadet LFA. Shortly after they began the project,
Ken’s father, Gene Morris, decided that he would like to
restore a Cadet also.
Having owned a Cadet in the 1980s, it was by his encouragement
that Lorraine and Ken initially selected the Culver for their next
restoration. Gene Morris’ Culver Cadet LCA finished
restoration within weeks of the other.
Both aircraft feature a Continental engine (as opposed to the
original Franklin engine) requiring a newly designed engine mount