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XB-35 Nose Close Up - A black and white photo of an old airplane


XB-35 Nose Close Up - A black and white photo of an old airplane



NARA B26010..30 April 46..A.M. Schwartz, Northrop chief of structures in bubble..31232AC

An atomic bomb and nuclear facilities images from the late 1940s and later.

The X-planes are a series of experimental United States aircraft and rockets, used to test and evaluate new technologies and aerodynamic concepts. They have an X designator, which indicates the research mission within the US system of aircraft designations. The first, the Bell X-1, became well known in 1947 after it became the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight. Most of the X-planes have been operated by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) or, later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), often in conjunction with the United States Air Force. The majority of X-plane testing has occurred at Edwards Air Force Base. Some of the X-planes have been well publicized, while others have been developed in secrecy. Most X-planes are not expected to go into full-scale production.

The Album features American Aviation Historical Society photographs of pre- and post- WWII airplanes.

The futuristic-looking Northrop XB-35 flying wing bomber flew for the first time in 1946 but was cancelled as soon as 1949. It was a prototype bomber aircraft that was developed in the 1940s but never entered production. The XB-35 was designed to be a long-range bomber that could carry a large payload and fly at high speeds. Jack Northrop, the founder of Northrop, had been playing with the concept of flying wings during the 1930s and 1940s and eventually produced the N-1M and N-9M designs while the proposed XP-79 fell to naught. All of this work paved the way for something grander still to come - the XB-35/YB-35 flying wing strategic bomber. The experimental Northrop YB-35, Northrop designation N-9 or NS-9, was experimental heavy bomber aircraft developed by the Northrop Corporation for the United States Army Air Forces during and shortly after World War II that later became XB-35. The USAAF ordered thirteen pre-production vehicles under the YB-35 designation on September 30th, 1943. The concept of the flying wing bomber existed before World War 2 (1939-1945). The most famous of these wartime models became the German Horten Ho 229. The major problem facing engineers was in the inherent instability of flying wings due to the technology made available at the time. The flying wing offered several key qualities that conventionally-arranged aircraft did not - more internal space meant more volume for fuel, increasing operational ranges, and there would be more storage room for internally-held ordnance. Lacking vertical tail fins, there was also less drag encountered, and the wide-area wings aided in natural lifting tendencies which reduced fuel consumption. The project was canceled due to technical challenges and the emergence of jet-powered aircraft. The XB-35 was the precursor to the B-36, which was produced in much smaller numbers and saw limited use during the Korean War.



1950 - 1970


American Aviation Historical Society

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