Today, one of the weirdest and at the same time famous bombers of the Second World War is the German experimental Horten Ho 229, which used the "flying wing" scheme. Today, however, few people remember that already in the 1940s, similar developments were carried out by American engineers from Northrop, who would later create the B-2 Spirit bomber.
This is not a German plane at all. In fact, this is an American experimental machine YB-49. A huge number of interesting solutions were intertwined in the innovative aircraft, however, in the end, none of the specimens created for testing passed all the tests completely. Moreover, they decided to dispose of the planes by order of the US Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington. Even the museum was denied receipt of one of the experimental YB-49s to create the exhibit.
The military Northrop N-9MB was first shown in September 1941, as the prototype of the YB-35. The first flight of the car took place on December 27, 1942. The car was driven by test pilot John Meers. The liftoff from the ground occurred at a speed of 113-120 km / h. After that, the car made 48 more flights. At the same time, the 49th flight turned into a tragedy. The car was smashed to smithereens, and the test pilot was killed while trying to save the experimental plane.
After that, the car was constantly improved. The new flying wing bomber was designated YB-49 and introduced in 1947. The crew of the novelty was 7-10 people. Four people were accommodated at the same time in the tail of the aircraft. The tests of the aircraft lasted 50 hours. After that, the car was handed over to the US Air Force. The second vehicle was designated YB-49 and was introduced in 1948. During the first flight, the aircraft climbed to a height of 12,192 meters, after which communication with it was lost.
It was not possible to find out exactly what happened to the plane. After some time, the search brigade found burnt-out wreckage of the car, as well as the bodies of the crew members, at a considerable distance from the test square. The reasons for the crash remained unclear. A few witnesses told that they saw burning pieces of the plane falling from the sky.
After that, work on the aircraft was still ongoing, but the intensity of modifications was minimized. The designers were even able to present a reconnaissance version of the vehicle, which received the designation YRB-49A. The aircraft turned out to be successful and the Air Force even ordered several samples for itself. However, the YB-49 bomber was not modified. Over time, they decided to close the project altogether, giving preference to other initiatives of the Pentagon. All created samples of the aircraft were destroyed by decision of the command. The only place where the YB-49 bomber was able to prove itself is Hollywood. Chronicle from the trials was used in the creation of the film about the invasion of the Martians.
Want to know even more interesting things about airplanes? How about reading about why some aircraft have wings above the fuselage, while others have under it and is there any difference between them at all.