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STRANGE EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT - NORTHRUP XP-79 FLYING RAM - PILOT LAYS ON HIS STOMACH THIS FLYING WING!

Begun as an extremely ambitious project for a rocket-powered gun-armed interceptor, the XP-79B emerged as a jet, intended to ram enemy bombers and survive due to its strong magnesium structure. This idea, worthy of the Nazis or the Japanese with their backs against the wall, was conceived in the US just as the tide was turning for Allied forces, and any need for such desperate measures was waning. The aircraft was not flown until the war was over, and then only once. After a near collision with a fire truck on take-off, the XP-79 flew well enough for a few minutes until it entered a spin from 8,000ft and crashed at high speed, killing test pilot Harry Crosby. Plans to continue with the rocket-powered versions of the XP-79 ended there, although Northrop's slightly less radical development vehicle, the MX-324 became the first American rocket aircraft.
The XP-79B was something of a disaster. However, it added the Northrop's experience with flying wing designs. Despite experiencing many failures, Northrop persisted with the flying-wing concept throughout the war, producing the massive XB-35 flying-wing bomber and its jet-powered derivative, the YB-49. Ultimately, Northrop's expertise in flying-wing technology would lead to the B-2 Spirit 'stealth' bomber of today, surely the ultimate vindication of Jack Northrop's dream.
 

STRANGE EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT - NORTHRUP XP-79 FLYING RAM - PILOT LAYS ON HIS STOMACH THIS FLYING WING!






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