On June 25th, 1946, the sole Northrop XB-35 (42-13603) prototype lifted off from Jack Northrop Field in Hawthorn California on its maiden flight to Muroc Army Airfield (now Edwards Air Force Base) in the Mojave Desert. On the 44-minute flight the huge flying wing bomber reached an altitude of 10,000 ft., with no problems reported. The XB-35 was flown by pilot Max Stanley, co-pilot Fred Bretcher and flight engineer Orva Douglas. They were accompanied by a factory fresh appearing Northrop P-61C Black Widow night fighter (43-8322) photo chase plane, crewed by pilot Slim Perrett and Northrop chief photographer Roy Wolford.
Though the design showed great promise, it was not able to overcome issues with the power plants and control systems, and the competing Boeing B-47 killed any chance of seeing a flying wing bomber armada in the air.
The XB-35 would eventually be scrapped along with 12 other B-35s, and the jet powered YB-49/YRB-49 series. Technology would eventually catch up with Jack Northrop's visionary flying wing dream in the form of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The P-61C would later be lost while attempting to photograph the first flight of the YB-49. The crew was forced to bail out due to an engine fire.
*The original painting is available for purchase. Painting dimensions in inches: 18 x 24 acrylic on gessoboard. Contact the artist and reference: "Muroc Bound.”
Signed prints are available on this site by clicking on the "add to cart" option. Print size in inches: 16 x 20 on 18 x 22 paper.
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