A Brief History of the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing
The YB-49 Flying Wing was a prototype jet-powered heavy bomber aircraft developed by Northrop after World War II. Originally intended for service with the US Air Force, the YB-49's claim to fame was its radical flying wing design.
The YB-49 suffered through a troubled design and development process marked by persistent rumors of industrial sabotage.
The first YB-49 flew from California to Andrews Washington, D.C. in 4 hours 25 minutes. The return flight was sullied when four of the eight engines had to be shut down because of oil starvation. Inspection after an emergency landing revealed that no oil had been replaced in these engines after the bomber's last stop, raising suspicions of sabotage.
The last operational prototype was destroyed by fire in the midst of high-speed taxi trials which were conducted with the YB-49's fuel tanks full – an unusual testing procedure that sparked further speculation of industrial sabotage of the aircraft.
The YB-49 never saw production, the nod instead going to the more conventional Convair B-36 Peacemaker, a piston-driven design. But design work invested by Northrop in the development of the YB-49 eventually saw fruition when the B-2 Spirit strategic bomber entered operational service in the 1990s.
The new Flying Wing, the B-2 Spirit
See a real Northrop Flying Wing at
Flying Wing - USAF.com