The first true flying wing took flight in the mid-1940s, and within half a decade all were gone from the skies.
Not until seven years after his death did Northrop's flying wing really take off, becoming the asset to the US Air Force he knew it could be.
It also had twenty 0.50 calibre machine guns in seven turrets — four on the wing, two on the crew nacelle, and a tail stinger — for mid-air defence.
The only traditional thing about the design was the engines.
The S-1 single-place biplane had a monocoque fuselage and folding wings, an overall ingenious design that was well ahead of its time when it was unveiled in 1919. Each S-1 cost ,500, an amount few were willing to pay in a market flooded with cheap war surplus planes selling for as little as 0.
Northrop's plane ruined Lockheed, and he moved to Douglas Aircraft in the early 1920s where he built “Round-the-World” cruisers and devoted his spare time to his new pet concept of an all-wing aircraft.
The aircraft was called the XB-35, and it was a flying wing; it was designed without the familiar central fuselage and rear tail.
Jack Northrop before Northrop John “Jack” Knudsen Northrop was born in 1895, before heavier than air flight became commonplace.
But it wasn't long after the skies began filling with airplanes that he became captivated by aviation; in 1911, he watched a pilot fly a pusher biplane over Santa Barbara.
The wing was powered by four Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major 3,000 horsepower piston propellor engines.
And though the aircraft was nothing but wing, there was still ample space for a crew.
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In the nearly two decades that followed, Northrop undertook a handful of successful business ventures, including reviving Lockheed Aircraft and developing the record-shattering Vega airplane for the company.