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The original Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing in flight!
We saw it take off in Chino, California.
This plane design lead to the B-2 Spirit.

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.

 

Specifications

Role

Strategic bomber

Manufacturer

Northrop Corporation

Designer

Northrop Corporation

First flight

October 21, 1947

Propulsion

Eight-engine

(6 J35-A-19 on the YRB-49A) × Allison/General Electric J35-A-5 turbojets, 4,000 (5,000 for J35-A-19) lbf (17 kN) each

Performance

Max speed

495 mph

Initial rate of climb

3,758 ft/min

Service ceiling

45,700 ft

Max range

9,978 mi

Weight (empty)

88,442 lb

Max takeoff

193,938 lb

Dimensions

Wing span

172 ft 0 in

Length

53 ft 1 in

Height

20 ft 3 in

Wing area

4,000 ft²

Seating Capacity

7

Armament

Guns

 4 × .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns (intended for mounting in rotating "stinger" tail cone on all production aircraft)

Bombs

32,000 lb (14,500 kg)



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The new Flying Wing, the B-2 Spirit
Bomber, flew over us at Minter Field, California.

See a real Northrop Flying Wing at
The Western Museum of Flight in
Torrance, California

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Flying Wing - USAF.com

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