Schweitzer RG-8A “Condor” (1988)

Schweitzer RG-8A   “Condor” The RG-8A was developed by the U.S. Air Force under a “black” procurement program. It was a derivative of the Schweitzer motor-glider and was engineered and used to perform covert surveillance missions. Mission versatility was designed into the aircraft. The Coast Guard acquired two of these aircraft in 1988. They were used for drug interdiction, locating illegal immigrants, documenting fisheries violations and detecting the pollution of oceans and rivers, and on rare occasions for night search and rescue. Careful matching of the very high-aspect ratio aerodynamic design with the propeller, engine and mufflers enabled the RG-8A to operate with engine between 1,000 RPM and 1,300 RPM during the “quiet” mission mode. It was equipped with a six cylinder reciprocating Lycoming IO-540 engine rated at 250 horsepower but required only about 65 horsepower to maintain altitude in the “quiet” mode. The engine was highly muffled with exhaust vents over the low wing.  The low RPM propeller speed vastly reduced the noise generated by the prop [...]