In the news...and selected stories
Next ALF Member Meeting:
Saturday March 18, 2017
Northrop Flying Wing
"The aircraft was called the XB-35, and it was a flying wing; it was designed without the familiar central fuselage and rear tail. It was also massive, its 172-foot wing span promised to dwarf the wildly popular B-17 Flying Fortress, which was just over 104 feet across. And it included a host of new technical developments. Northrop’s flying wing boasted power operated elevons and rudders, which necessitated attaching springs to the control wheels and under the rudder pedal to give the pilot a “feel” for his control surfaces. Ram air pressure in a bellows attached to the control columns gave the pilot the same "feeling" of his elevator control. On the plane’s exterior, trim flaps, elevons, landing flaps, and split flaps for rudders were arranged along the trailing edge, the rear width of the wing. It also used wing tip slots with automatically controlled covers for increased longitudinal stability at high angles of attack." Popular Science
"Even without a central fuselage, the XB-35 had an impressive artillery capacity. Eight bomb bays were built into the wing allowing it to carry 10,000 pounds of conventional bombs. It also had twenty 0.50 calibre machine guns in seven turrets — four on the wing, two on the crew nacelle, and a tail stinger — for mid-air defence. The only traditional thing about the design was the engines. The wing was powered by four Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major 3,000 horsepower piston propellor engines."
"The original 1941 contract had called for one XB-35, but it was amended before long to include a second aircraft as a backup. In late 1942, thirteen service test models designated YB-35s were added to the contract, and by June, the final number of production XB-35 bombers was raised to 200. But Northrop couldn’t meet this demand, even when the Army Air Force brought the Glenn L. Martin Company in to help with the program. The partnership proved more of a hindrance than a help. There was confusion over the “X” and “Y” designations, a marked lack of coordination with other ongoing programs by both companies, and an overall loss of engineers to the draft. When the AAF reviewed the program in May of 1944, the decision was to cancel it." Popular Science
"On to the Next One: the YB-49
While the XB-35 program moved forward, the AAF decided to pursue an experimental jet-powered version of the flying wing. And in an attempt to keep production costs down, the decision was made to convert existing aircraft to their jet-powered versions rather than build completely new aircraft. And so two B-35's then under construction were converted to YB-49's. Eight jet engines replaced the four propeller engines, vertical fences and fins were added for stability, and two of the bomb bays were converted to fuel tanks".
1954-2016 James Milton Busby- Former ALF President
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