This week’s image is of the Northrop N-1M at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia:
Jack Northrop started experimenting with flying wing aircraft after being inspired by Germany’s Horten brothers and their pre-WWII record-setting glider designs. The N-1M “Jeep” was one of series of experimental aircraft built by Northrop in pursuit of a practical flying wing aircraft.
The N-1M flew as a testbed in 1939 – 1941, and while it had its problems (particularly with respect to controllability in rough air), it proved to be both a workable and ground-breaking design. Eventually, over many years and through more than its share of political troubles, the design would lead to that of the B-2 “Spirit” stealth bomber.