The Northrop YB-49 "Flying Wing" and the North
American XB-70A "Valkyrie"
films and two flight manuals on one DVD
Initial Flight of the YB-49 (1948, B&W, 5:15) This film was produced
by the US Air Force and Northrop to show the first test flights of the YB-49 Flying Wing at Northrop' s Hawthorne, California
facility, introducing it to the American public for the first time.
The YB-49 was a redesign of the propeller driven B-35, upgraded with
six GE Allison jet engines and various structural design improvements
(see the description below for more info). The revolutionary design
and almost other worldly, alien spacecraft-like lines of the jet
powered Wing are highlighted in this very clean black and white
footage. This aircraft is revealingly shown at all angles, including
up close on the ground and in flight.
The Story of the Flying Wing (1949, Color, 24:00) It may be hard to
believe today, but Flying Wing's innovative design was
often used against it by detractors from competing
aircraft companies ("An airplane that doesn't have a tail??!!")
So, Northrop Aircraft produced this information film to extol the
Wings virtues and answer her critics. The result is a film that gives
a compelling overview of the principles of advantages of the Wing
design, delivered by Northrop's Director of Engineering, Harrison F.
Burke. You'll see color film of the jet powered Wing in operation,
supplemented by an extensive use of instructive animations. You'll
learn about the role of drag in flight in relation to efficiency in
aircraft design, the advantages of a swept wing, the inherent
advantages in structural integrity of the Wing design, simplicity
and ease of maintenance, the role of center of gravity in tail design
and much more.
XB-70 Valkyrie Flight Test Program (1966, Color, 13:00) This film,
produced by North American Aviation, gives a concise overview of the
early phases of the XB-70A aircraft design, construction,
development and testing in 1964. You'll see Phase one & two flight tests
and "proof loading" structural tests. The use and testing
of "folded wing tips" and retraction of the "windshield
ramp"in supersonic flight is shown in detail along with the
innovative air induction system. On 14 October 1965, the Valkyrie broke the Mach 3 barrier. The extensive use of flight test instrumentation in the
program is also discussed.
XB-70A Valkyrie: Phase One Flight Testing (1966, Color, 26:00) The critical first four
flight tests of the XB-70A over 34 days at Edwards AFB are shown in
detail culminating in the aircraft's first supersonic flight (with an
B-58 Hustler chase plane!). As might be expected, these early f
lights included some dramatic moments, including an in flight engine
flame out and one of the landing gear bursting into flames during
touch down. But, as mission chief test pilot Col Al White says, "if
there were no problems during testing, you wouldn't need test pilots
or test flights." You'll see the unflappable Col White and copilot
Col Joe Cotton work the sleek Valkyrie through a series of crtical tests,
including landing gear, flaps, flight controls, advanced
hydraulic systems, first deployment of the folding wing tips and
more. A highlight of the film is a press conference/debriefing by
the XB-70 test flight team. As you'll see, there's nothing
"routine" about testing a revolutionary and extremely
complex aircraft like the XB-70A Valkyrie.
Handbook for the Northrop YB-49 Airplane (77 pages) See detailed
operating instructions, copious illustrations, cockpit photos,
systems diagrams, flight characteristics, emergency procedures and
much more in Adobe acrobat .pdf file format.
American XB-70A "Valkyrie" Flight Manual (380 pages ) See XB70A
operating instructions, cockpit photos, systems diagrams, flight
characteristics, emergency procedures, performance charts and more in
Adobe Acrobat .pdf file format. Pilot's
manual viewable on computer DVD player. Don't have a DVD player on your
computer? We can put the manual on a separate CD-ROM! Click
here for info.
info on these two revolutionary aircraft...
Flying Wing was the brainchild of Jack
Northrop, who started work on the concept in the 1930s. Northrop
advocated "The Wing" as a means of reducing drag and
structural weight. Northrop's first full scale Wing was a long range
propeller driven bomber, the B-35, tasked by the Army Air force in
1941 to provide intercontinental strike capability. By the time the
first YB-35s were in flight test in 1946, they were already obsolete
in the Jet Age. Two YB-35s
were modified, replacing the four radial engines with eight Allison
TG-180 (J35) turbojet engines and re-designated the YB-47. Other
modifications included the addition of four vertical stabilizers and
four air dams extending forward from the vertical stabilizer to
minimize the airflow down the swept wing.
aircraft began flight testing in October 1947. The YB-49s set both
an unofficial endurance record, staying above 40,000 ft (12,200 m)
for six hours, and a trans-continental speed record
of 4 hours 20 minutes. They had by far the lowest radar
signature of any plane of the period. Maximum
speed was 493 mph at 20,800 feet, service ceiling 45,700 feet,
initial climb 3785 feet per minute. A normal 10,000 pound bomb load
could be carried for 4000 miles on 6700 gallons of fuel.
of flight testing showed generally good performance; but instability,
the unreliability of the engines and political infighting with
Convair doomed the Wing. It retained the B-35's thick airfoil
section giving it a low Mach limit. Tests revealed a tendency to
"hunt" during bomb runs, degrading accuracy. Testing
continued with both aircraft until the No 2 YB-49 crashed at Muroc on
June 5, 1948. The crew on that fateful mission included Capt. Glen
W. Edwards; "Muroc AFB" was changed to "Edwards Air
Force Base" in his honor.
During March 15, 1951 testing,
the nose landing gear collapsed on No. 1 YB-49 and it broke in two &
was destroyed. But, the flying wing bomber concept was kept alive
within Northrop's culture and was reborn in the extremely successful
B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber 40 years later.
North American XB-70A Valkyrie
super size, supersonic XB-70, often called one of the most strikingly
beautiful aircraft of all time, was conceived to meet a specification
from the Strategic Air Command issued in the early 1950s for a
high-altitude bomber that could fly three times the speed of sound,
and was the culmination of the "higher, faster" school of
bomber design going back to the B-29. The B-70 was given the go
ahead over a competing Convair atomic powered design. But, by the end
of the decade, due to funding constraints, improvements in Soviet
surface-to-air missiles and a new emphasis on cheaper to build ICBMs,
the combat bomber specification was dropped and only two XB-70s were
actually produced as research aircraft for the study of aerodynamics,
propulsion and supersonic flight.
North American design was a huge, sleek, canarded, delta winged
aircraft powered by six General Electric YJ93 after burning turbojet
engines, with a thrust of nearly 30,000 pounds each. Gross weight was
above 500,000 pounds. The six engines were housed side-by side in the
rear of the large under fuselage box, fed by a variable-inlet system
with a series of movable ramps, optimizing the airflow into the
engines at varying Mach numbers. Maximum speed was 1,982 mph at
75,550 feet. The
Valkyrie was built of stainless-steel honeycomb sandwich panels and
titanium and was designed to use "compression lift" when
the shock wave generated by supersonic speeds supported part of the
aircraft's weight. For improved supersonic stability, the Valkyrie
could droop its wingtips as much as 65 degrees.
No.1 XB-70 made its initial flight on Sept. 21, 1964, and achieved supersonic flight on Oct. 14th. The No. 2 airplane first flew on July
17, 1965, but on June 8, 1966, it crashed following a mid-air
collision. The No. 1 airplane continued in its research program until
flown to the Air Force Museum on Feb. 4, 1969, where it is now on