Restored Vintage Northrop N9MB Flying Wing---Rare Sight !
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Uploaded on Nov 23, 2007
This is a video that I took of the Planes of Fame Museum's (Chino, California) Northrop N9MB Flying Wing while performing a display at the Palm Springs Air Museum in 2006. This aircraft was painstakingly restored over a 13-year period.
As part of the November 1941 contract that Northrop was awarded for the proposed XB-35 Flying Wing included the construction of four, 1/3-scale aircraft, designated N9M, that were to act as flying test beds for various flight systems and also to familiarize Air Force pilots with flying-wing operations. The Planes of Fame Flying Wing in this video is one of those aircraft, and the only one remaining. Aviation greats such as Jack Northrop himself, Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover actually flew this exact aircraft. I understand that this aircraft has a lot of idiosyncrasies that every pilot that ever flew her fell prey to, with interesting results!
Unfortunately, this aircraft experienced an in-flight engine fire just a short time after this video was taken in its left, 300 hp., 8-cylinder Franklin 0-540-7 engine. Pilot Ron Hackworth skillfully landed the aircraft safely. The Flying Wing has since been pretty much restored, but the restoration of the rare Franklin 0-540-7 engine is another matter. There were only about 27 of these engines ever built and it is believed that only three of them exist today. The needed parts may be newly manufactured as necessary, but the factory drawings are needed. They have not yet been located to my knowledge, as of Nov. 2007.
NOVEMBER 2009 UPDATE: New cylinder heads are being manufactured for these engines. Not a simple nor inexpensive task. Once the engine rebuilds are under way, this aircraft will once again fly, and not in the too distant future! But in the meantime, enjoy the rare video of this historic aircraft!
May 2010 UPDATE: The rebuilt, rare Franklin 8-cylinder engines have arrived and are in the process of being installed. The "Wing" will be ready for flight very soon!
- Octane130 -
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