Friday, December 9, 2011

XB 35 Flying Wing Composite

Here is my composite image of AMT's 1/72 scale Northrop XB 35 Flying Wing prototype being pursued by a 1950's style Flying Saucer.

Images of the XB 35 model can be seen here.

Images of the Flying Saucer model can be seen here.

From Wikipedia"

The Northrop XB-35 and YB-35 were experimental heavy bomber aircraft developed for the United States Army Air Forces during and shortly after World War II by the Northrop Corporation. It used the radical and potentially very efficient flying wing design, in which the tail section and fuselage are eliminated and all payload is carried in a thick wing. Only prototype and pre-production aircraft were built, although interest remained strong enough to warrant further development of the aircraft as a jet bomber, under the designation YB-49.

On 22 November 1941, the Army Air Corps signed the development contract for an XB-35; the contract included an option for a second aircraft, which was exercised on 2 January 1942. The first was to be delivered in November 1943, the second in April of the next year.

Detailed engineering began in early 1942. A fuselage-like crew cabin was to be embedded inside the wing; it included a tail cone protruding from the trailing edge. This tail cone would contain the remote sighting stations for the gunners in the production model. In the rear of the cabin, there were folding bunks for off-duty crew on long missions. The aircraft's bombload was to be carried in six small bomb bays, three in each wing. This design precluded the carrying of large bombs, including early atomic bombs. Production aircraft would have defensive armament of 20 .5 in (12.7 mm) machine guns or 20 mm cannon, carried in seven turrets, three on the aircraft's centreline and four above and below the outer wings. The B-35 would take advantage of a new aluminium alloy devised by Alcoa; it was considerably stronger than any alloy used previously.

In June 1946, the XB-35 made her first flight, a 45-minute trip from Hawthorne, California to Muroc Dry Lake, with no problems. The XB-35's engines and propellers were Army Air Force property, and had not been tested for engine-propeller compatibility by either Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Standard, or by the AAF which bought them at Wright Field without testing them or assuring reliability, and then shipped them to Northrop. Microfilmed records of reports and correspondence of the XB-35 program relate that after three or four flights powerplant-propeller vibrations increased, and the very efficient contra-rotating propellers began failing with frustrating frequency. Meetings were called by Northrop, of the AAF, Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Standard where no one would take responsibility for correcting the AAF's engines and propellers. In addition the AAF failed to supply the AC electrical alternator, insisting on Northrop using an automotive engine powered unit which limited the high-altitude, high-speed XB-35 to test flights below 15,000 feet. The AAF also refused to allow Northrop proposed modification of the bomb bays to carry the standard Mk 3 atomic bomb, while at the same time declaring the AF would not buy the bomber unless it could carry the A-bomb. Northrop reluctantly agreed to try a single-rotation propeller which slightly increased takeoff distance and reduced rate of climb and maximum speed.

Problems with the driveline continued until finally Jack Northrop himself grounded the XB-35s until the government would fix their propulsion system. Concurrently, the AAF ordered Northrop to modify two of the YB-35 airframes into YB-49s, essentially just substituting eight jet engines in place of four reciprocating engines, and the airframe promptly flew to more than 40,000 feet and topped 520 mph in flight tests, verifying the XB-35 airframe's aerodynamics, but at the price of range. The prop-version had a design range capable of reaching targets 4,000-miles away, but the jet-engine version's range was cut in half. The new version disqualified it for the Air Force's top priority mission as a strategic bomber, which at that time meant striking at the USSR's industrial and military complexes in the Ural Mountains. The Air Force, itself involved in a confusion of rank and job changes, eventually cancelled the XB-35 project, while continuing testing the B-35 airframe in the YB-49, even ordering 30 of the jet-powered airframes after the first YB -49 crashed. The first and second XB-35s were scrapped on 23 and 19 August 1949, respectively.

Flying Saucer"

A flying saucer (also referred to as a flying disc) is a type of unidentified flying object (UFO) sometimes believed to be of alien origin with a disc or saucer-shaped body, usually described as silver or metallic, occasionally reported as covered with running lights or surrounded with a glowing light, hovering or moving rapidly either alone or in tight formations with other similar craft, and exhibiting high maneuverability.

Disc-shaped flying objects have been interpreted as recorded occasionally since the Middle Ages, the first highly publicized sighting by Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947, resulted in the creation of the term by U.S. newspapers. Although Arnold never specifically used the term "flying saucer", he was quoted at the time saying the shape of the objects he saw was like a "saucer", "disc", or "pie-plate", and several years later added he had also said "the objects moved like saucers skipping across the water." (The Arnold article has a selection of newspaper quotes.) Both the terms flying saucer and flying disc were used commonly and interchangeably in the media until the early 1950s.

Arnold's sighting was followed by thousands of similar sightings across the world. Such sightings were once very common, to such an extent that "flying saucer" was a synonym for UFO through the 1960s before it began to fall out of favor. The term is still often used generically for any UFO.

More recently, the flying saucer has been largely supplanted by other alleged UFO-related vehicles, such as the black triangle. The term UFO was, in fact, invented in 1952, to try to reflect the wider diversity of shapes being seen. However, unknown saucer-like objects are still reported, such as in the widely-publicized 2006 sighting over Chicago-O'Hare airport.

Many of the alleged flying saucer photographs of the era are now believed to be hoaxes. The flying saucer is now considered largely an icon of the 1950s and of B-movies in particular, and is a popular subject in comic science fiction.