Northrop N-1M Flying Wing Research Aircraft
The Northrop N-1M flying wing research vehicle was in development throughout World War 2 and proved several concepts sound.
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John "Jack" Northrop long held a fascination with the "flying wing" concept, an aircraft that did not rely on a traditional tail unit or vertical features for stabilized flight and handling. The flying wing concept allowed for more efficient airflow through reduced drag and excellent internal volume for both weapons and fuel stores while offering extended flying ranges. It was not until the 1940s that his flying wing dream led to the first true flying wing design in the United States as the Northrop "N-1M" prototype vehicle. The aircraft recorded its first flight in July of 1941 before America had yet to enter World War 2.
Prior to founding the fabled Northrop concern (which continues business today), Jack Northrop served with both Douglas Aircraft and competitor Lockheed during the 1920s where he lent his talents to the design of the popular Lockheed Vega of 1927. It was during this decade that Mr. Northrop began to center his attention on an all-wing aircraft concept which led to his leaving Lockheed to found the Avion Corporation - his first solo venture. In 1929, he designed a "pseudo-flying wing" of all-metal, stressed-skin design which was designated as the "Flying Wing X-216H". The aircraft still retained a traditional tail unit and made use of a twin boom arrangement as well as a single "pusher" propeller arrangement. Funding and other commitments limited Northrop's venture into all-wing designs for the interim.