Home / Latest News / Aircraft Crash News / Historic WWII-Era Northrop N-9M Flying Wing Fatally Crashes Into state prison in Norco

Historic WWII-Era Northrop N-9M Flying Wing Fatally Crashes Into state prison in Norco

Historic WWII-Era Northrop N-9M Flying Wing Fatally Crashes Into state prison in Norco

A pilot operating the world’s only 1944 Northrop N9M Flying Wing plane is reportedly deceased after the aircraft crashed on the grounds of prison in Norco, Calif.

The cause or causes of the crash are unknown, but the bright yellow flying wing came down inside the yard at the California Rehabilitation Center, a state prison facility.

Details on the incident are still vague; it seems no bystanders were injured but the plane appears to have essentially disintegrated on impact.

A witness described the plane as “dipping” left and right before the fatal crash at the grounds of the California Rehabilitation Center

Video footage from news helicopters flying over the crash site an hour after the mishap shows little of the aircraft remaining intact. Unless there are larger parts we are not seeing, the plane appears to be a total loss.

 

The NTSB and FAA are both investigating.

Neither the pilot’s name nor the cause of the crash has been released.

Video footage from news helicopters flying over the crash site an hour after the mishap shows little of the aircraft remaining intact. Unless there are larger parts we are not seeing, the plane appears to be a total loss.

The crash is a major loss for aviation history. First flown in 1942, Northrop’s N-9M, with the “M” standing for “model,” was a test aircraft to support the development of the XB-35 and YB-35 prototype flying wing bombers.

The N-9Ms had a 60-foot wing that was effectively a third-scale replica of the full-size bombers. This smaller surrogate design was made of both wood and metal and had a pair of engines driving pusher propellers, compared to the all-metal XB/YB-35 and its four pusher props. The N-9M was also an evolution of Jack Northrop’s earlier N-1M, which also supported the company’s flying wing work.

Northrop built four N-9Ms, designating them N-9M-1, -2, A, and B. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the U.S. Air Force canceled the XB/YB-35 program, as well as the development of the improved YB-49. Many of the airframes associated with these projects, including the first three N-9Ms, ended up being scrapped.

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One comment

  1. There is a factual error. That was the last airworthy N-9, the first one built is in the Smithsonian.

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