NORTHROP YB-35 OVER EDWARDS AFB

This unique flying wing is seen over Edwards AFB, named for Glenn Edwards who was killed in the crash of one of the follow-on YB-49s, a pure jet flying wing.

Only the first YB-35 (S/N 42-13603, Northrop Number 1484), shown here, was ever completed. Jack Northrop began working on flying wing designed in the 1930s, and this unique aircraft was  developed  in response to a United States Army Air Corps request for a heavy bomber that could carry 10,000 pounds of bombs 10,000 miles so it could bomb Nazi Germany in case England fell. But propeller-driven aircraft were considered obsolete by 1946 when the aircraft first flew. The USAF authorized the installation of eight jet engines in two YB-35s, redesigned as YB-49s. Another YB-35A was modified with six jet engines and became the YRB-49A.

Thirteen YB-35s were ordered in 1942 as test aircraft, with a planned initial production run of 200. But project delays and problems—notably with untested the engine and contra-rotating twin propellers provided by the USAAC which led to cancellation of the production program. The test program, however, continued to gather data on flying wing designs but only lasted a few months in mid-1948. The aircraft was stored for about a year and then scrapped in 1949.

The XB-35 Pilot’s Handbook is available for download here as a PDF, if you’re interested.

 

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