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Mon, Apr 22, 2019

Restored Northrop N-9M Reported Down, Destroyed, in CA Accident

Last Remaining N-9M Appears Lost, According to FAA Report

While details are sparse, the last remaining Northrop N-9M, restored and flown by the Planes of Fame Museum, appears to have been lost in an accident in Norco, CA.

The aircraft appears to have impacted, after witness reports of some kind of power outage, in nearby prison yard, where the debris and fire damage seems to have all but consumed the aircraft. There is no word, yet, on the fate of the pilot, but the damage profile looks worrisome in terms of survivability.

The single seat, twin-engine, Northrop N-9M was built as something of a one-third scale development platform for Northrop's flying wing ambitions... The 60' span, flying wing aircraft was used to research and define the aerodynamics for what would come later -- the Northrop XB-35 and YB-35 flying wing long-range, heavy bombers, which boasted massive 172' wingspans. The N-9M was reportedly the third in a design progression that started in 1929, and was first flown in 1942.

Several prototypes were built... but after a fatal test accident in 1943, only one aircraft was kept intact, though it reportedly deteriorated for several decades before it was acquired and restored by the Planes of Fame Air Museum. The aircraft changed hands in 1982, to the Museum, but did not fly again until 1993... after which it has been displayed and flown repeatedly over the years.

An engine fire downed the bird again in 2006, and damaged the aircraft seriously, but a massive fund-raising drive and industry support saw it airborne again, four years later.

We'll have more data when it becomes available.




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