Jets45 Histories

Northrop XB-35 B (YB-49)

YB-49 takes to the air

    Engine: 8x Allison J35-A-5 turbojets making 4,000 lb of thrust each
    Wing Span: 172'
    Length: 53' 1''
    Height: 15' 2''
    Weight: Empty 89,600 lb / Loaded 216,000 lb
    Maximum Speed: 500 mph
    Ceiling: 42,000'
    Range: 4,000 miles
    Crew: 6
    Armament: 2x 0.50'' machine guns / Bomb load up to 16,000lb
Designed by John Northrop in 1941 the XB-35 was powered by 4x Pratt & Whitney Wasp piston engines. A prototype was ordered November 1941, with detail design work started at the beginning of 1942 and construction began in January 1943. A second prototype ordered, thirteen pre-series YB-35's and 200 B-35's. But by mid 1945 the advent of the jet engine had changed everything, the orders for the B-35 was canceled, however the decision was taken, on the 1/7/1945, to convert the second and third YB-35's (the 3rd & 4th prototypes) to be powered by jet engines, with the aim to be completed by June of 1946. Originally called the XB-35B, by the time of first flight on the 21/10/1947, the aircraft was now known as the YB-49.
The piston engined XB-35
The last version of the Northrop's Dream the YBR-49A
The jet powered aircraft had a considerable speed increase over the piston engined XB-35 but at a cost half the range because of high fuel use, also the aircraft had a instability problem which could not be fully cured, so it was unsuitable as a bomber, in the the end On 15/3/1950, the cancellation of the entire YB-49 program became official. However it was hoped to find it a use as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft in the form of the YBR-49A. Only one aircraft was ever converted with new engines and equipment, which took off on its first test flight on 4/5/1950 but It was finally scrapped by the Air Force in November of 1953.
With the second YB-49 prototype crashing on the 5/6/1948 and the first YB-49 exploding in mid air on the 15/3/1950 with out any warning killing all the crew, plus the problems with the YBR-49A Northrop's flying wing program was finished for 40 years.
The end of the line for the B-49 program
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