Beech Model MQM-61A Cardinal was a simple monoplane, powered by a 125 hp
McCulloch engine driving a two-blade propeller. It could tow banners or targets,
with two targets under each wing. It could fly as high as 43,000 feet at a top
speed of 350 mph.
The Cardinal was used by the Army from 1958 for surface-to-air anti-aircraft
missile and gunnery training. In June 1963, the Cardinal was designated as
MQM-61A. When production ended in 1972, more than 1300 Cardinals had been built
for the Army.
At White Sands, the first Cardinal was launched in 1965, according to the firing
records. Between 1965 and 1977, 646 MQM-61A Cardinals were fired against
missiles under test.
Length: 15 ft.
Wingspan: 13 ft.
Weight: 664 lb
Speed: 350 mph
Ceiling: 43,000 ft
Endurance: 60 min
First firing: 1958