Northrop YB-49

Throughout his career, imaginative American designer Jack Northrop
believed that the ultimate in aircraft development would be a “flying wing”, with neither fuselage nor tail.
DuringWorldWar II his company developed the massive XB-35 all-wing piston-engined bomber, but by the lime it flew in 1946 the jet era had arrived. Northrop then built two jet – powered versions of the bomber, designated YB- 49s.
This extraordinary aircraft was powered by eight Allison turbojets buried in the wing. Its two pilots sat beneath a large canopy offset to port; off to starboard, in the nose, there was a glazed area over the navigator’s and bombardiers position. The two bomb bays were also contained in the wing. Although it looked like a science fiction fantasy, the flying-wing bomber really worked. It did well in altitude, speed, and endurance tests, flying from California to Washington DC in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Its record was then marred when one of the machines broke up in flight, killing its crew.
Despite this, the US Air Force ordered 30 RB-49A reconnaissance bombers in 1948, only to cancel the order as more conventional designs won favour. The cancellation of the project was a personal tragedy for Northrop. By official order, all flying-wing airframes were broken up for scrap.

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