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Northrop XB-35

Northrop XB-35
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P&W R-4360
4 x 3,000 hp ea.
53 ft. 1 in.
172 ft.
89,560 lbs
209,000 lbs.
20- .50 cal.
51,070 lbs.
180 mph
390 mph
1,700 fpm (est.)
39,700 feet
8,150 miles
June 25,1946

The Northrop XB-35 was the world's first flying wing bomber.

In 1941 Northrop Corp. was asked to produce a long range flying wing bomber. U. S. Army Air Corps design goals were for an aircraft that cruised at 275 mph with a maximum speed of 450 mph. It was to have a 10,000 mile range and be able to carry 10,000 lbs. of bombs. That was faster and farther than any other bomber of the day.

In Sept. 1942 the Army ordered 13 Northrop XB-35 service test aircraft. By June of 1943 an additional order was placed for 200 aircraft. However, it soon became apparent that the bomber would not be ready to enter the war. The program was continued, but all orders were canceled except for two test aircraft.

To test the design concepts of a flying wing, a 1/3 scale version was built. The prototype began flight tests in June 1946. The top speed of the aircraft was 60 mph slower than design goals, with the range almost 2,000 miles less.

The Northrop XB-35 had control problems, propeller gearbox malfunctions, excessive vibration, and early signs of metal fatigue in the engines.

Eventually the contra-rotating propellers of the first prototype were replaced with single propellers. That helped with some of the problems, but the change further reduced performance.

The first prototype Northrop XB-35 was grounded after only nineteen test flights. A second prototype fared no better and was grounded after just eight flights. Both aircraft were scrapped in August of 1949.

Design failures and the development of high speed jet aircraft made the Northrop XB-35 bomber obsolete even as it was being developed. Engineers were not thinking about stealth aircraft technology at the time.

Northrop XB-35
Northrop XB-35

If you want the excitement of having a flying wing without the effort and expense of modeling a full scale radio control Northrop XB-35, you may want to choose a wing type slope soaring. Quite a number of flying wings come with one or two pusher props for level field flying.

Pictured above and below is the scratch built Northrop XB-35 built by Jean-Louis Naudin. It has a wingspan of 146". Power comes from four speed 600 motors.

The AMA has plans for a 64.5" wingspan Northrop XB-35 for sale. Power comes from electric motors.

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Northrop XB-35
XB-35 - Naudin.

Northrop XB-35
Jean-Louis Naudin and his XB-35

Northrop XB-35
Northrop XB-35 from front