Menasco 6 cyl.
2 x 260 h.p. ea.
17 ft. 10 in.
60 ft. 0 in.
The U.S. government contracted with Northrop Corp. in 1941 for a flying wing bomber that would carry 10,000 lbs. of ordnance, cruise at 275 mph, and have a 10,000 mile range. Four 60 foot wing span Northrop N9M test aircraft were built to explore the potential for a flying wing bomber before the full scale prototype would be produced.
The idea of a flying wing bomber came about as a result of the success of the Horton brothers experiments with flying wing aircraft in Germany. With those aircraft in mind, Jack Northrop’s prototypes used the entire aircraft as a lifting body.
The Northrop N9M design eliminate the drag of a conventional fuselage together with its horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Northrop had theorized that the results would be an aircraft that would be able to achieve higher speeds and carry larger payloads with the power plants available at the time.
Although the Northrop N9M experienced some engine problems, the test program was considered an overall success. As a result, two full scale bomber prototypes were built. However, engine and engineering problems, plus the development of newer aircraft designs using jet engines, ended the project in 1949.
The only flying Northrop N9M was housed at the Planes of Fame Museum at the Chino Airport in California. On April 22, 2019 it was destroyed in a crash that killed its pilot.