The Hagerstown Aviation Museum has just accepted the donation of the unique Fairchild XNQ-1 Navy Trainer (BuNo.75726), a sole survivor of two examples produced. This aircraft is currently preparing for a ferry flight from its longtime home at Fairview Airport in Rhome, Texas back to the place of its birth in Hagerstown, Maryland. The journey is set to take place either this coming Sunday or Monday (June 9th or 10th, 2024).

Fairchild created the XNQ-1 to compete for a contract to replace the U.S. Navy’s primary trainer fleet. The first prototype (BuNo.75725) flew on October 7th, 1946. Despite several advanced features for a trainer of its era, such as a bubble canopy for greater pilot/instructor vision, electronically retractable landing gear, and an all-metal, semi-monocoque construction, the Navy rejected it due to cockpit exhaust gas ingestion issues. Fairchild rejigged the design for competition in a US Air Force program to replace its AT-6 Texans in 1949. Despite an initial order for a hundred examples (as the T-31) in 1949, that contract ended up being cancelled in favor of the Beech T-34 Mentor.

Fairchild XNQ-1 in flight. Prototype trainer aircraft developed for the United States Navy, but not put into production. Image via Wikipedia.

BuNo.75726 first flew from Hagerstown on February 10th, 1947. Delivered to the Navy at NAS Anacostia, Maryland, the aircraft underwent trials at NAS Patuxent River. After the potential Navy contract fell through, as mentioned, Fairchild then remodeled the aircraft as the T-31A for the US Air Force, but following that contract’s cancellation, the aircraft ended up back at Pax’ River with the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. A 1953 landing accident saw the aircraft struck off charge, but somehow, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) obtained ownership of the trainer instead of the scrap man. After repairs at Pax’, the XNQ-1 flew to its new home near Alexandria, Virginia. However, it wasn’t long before the aircraft became ground-bound again, this time in Rockville, Maryland.

Thankfully, a CAP officer named John St.Clair, recognizing the Fairchild’s historical status, stepped in to save the airframe and trucked it to his home nearby. Some years later, St.Clair donated the trainer to the Antique Aircraft Association which had it transported to Waco, Texas (and later Oklahoma City) for restoration – although no work took place, reportedly. It was in a hangar in Waco circa 1980 that Dom Pellegreno first saw the aircraft, while he and his wife, Ann, sheltered from a storm. After on-and-off again negotiations, the couple eventually bought the airframe in April 1983. A meticulous, nine-year restoration effort then followed, which saw the XNQ-1 take to the skies again on June 1st, 1992. The aircraft has won a number of trophies in the interim, including a Judges’ Choice Award at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014. Following Dom Pellegreno’s death in 2018, the XNQ-1 came under Ann’s sole ownership, and she recently agreed to donate it to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, which seems like the perfect place for this historic Fairchild design to end up.

About the Hagerstown Aviation Museum:

The Hagerstown Aviation Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of Fairchild aircraft and memorabilia. Thanks to the unwavering support and generosity of loyal donors over the past 25 years, the museum has grown from a concept into a remarkable collection. It now includes 23 historic aircraft and over 10,000 photos and artifacts, covering more than a century of aviation history in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Annual museum events showcase the entire museum collection of historic aircraft that were built in Hagerstown, Maryland by Fairchild Aircraft.

The mission of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum is to research, interpret, preserve, and promote the aviation history of the local community. The museum aims to foster an appreciation for the contributions of the many men and women who have played a part in that history.

The XNQ-1 will join the museum’s growing collection of aircraft and artifacts, each with its unique story, collectively narrating the incredible history of the thousands of men and women who built the aircraft that made Fairchild and Hagerstown renowned worldwide. To keep UP-TO-DATE on the arrival day and time of the XNQ follow the Hagerstown Aviation Museum Facebook

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