All about Glen Edwards, the U.S. Air Force test pilot who gave his name to Edwards Air Force Base in California, with added material on his military service in World War II and the Northop YB-49 Flying Wing and Horten nurflügel aircraft

Flying Tigers


Boeing blended-wing transport

Wouldn't Jack Northrop be pleased?

On July 22, the Wall Street Journal showed this rendering of a "blended wing" transport for the US Air Force. Jack Northrop would have called it a "flying wing." To the Germans who built the promising but badly deployed Horten Ho/Go 229, it was a Nurflügel. Whatever the name, the fuselage provides the lifting force and, as an incidental byproduct, a bulky transport can become as stealthy as today's most advanced fighters and bombers.

Boeing produced that design in 2006. It has returned to newspaper headlines today because the Air Force is looking for a successor to its C-17 Globemaster and its gigantic C-5M Super Galaxy, both of which were designed with a European conflict in mind. Now that China has replaced Russia as the rising superpower -- the "pacing threat," as strategists delicately put it -- distances have become more vast than they were in 1970, when the C-17 entered service.

"A wing-body offers more interior space to carry supplies and fuel," the WSJ explains, "and, with new engines being designed, would provide the range to operate across the Pacific." Jack Northrop couldn't have said it better.

Diary of a Bomber Pilot

Glen Edwards: The Diary of a Bomber Pilot is mostly told in his own words, taken from the diary he kept from his first day as an aviation cadet to the day before he died in the fiery crash of the Northrop YB-49. As co-author, I introduce the man, bridge the gaps in his diary, and explain the virtues and the drawbacks of the planes he flies, whether as a bomber pilot in the North Africa desert or as an Air Force test pilot at Wright Field and Muroc -- now known as Edwards Air Force Base. "Ford ... is blessed with a splendid writing style and understands the modern Air Force, wrote the reviewer for Air & Space magazine. "Reading his book is a real treat."

V-Mail from the war zone
Grim Reapers in North Africa (chapter 3)
Table of contents and author's note
A Glen Edwards photo album
How to buy the book (and why you should :)

The flying wing + nurflügel files:

David Myhra's books about the Horten all-wings
Jack Northrop lectures the Royal Aeronautical Society
General Robert Cardenas recalls the YB-49 ...
... and so does Northrop test pilot Charlie Tucker
A Flying Wing bibliography
Notes on the Horten all-wing aircraft
Prince Albert meets the Flying Wing (1942 advertisement)
A ring in the desert (Danny Forbes's wedding ring found)
Jack Northrop's flying-wing airliner
Horten Ho 229 Spirit of Thuringia (Andrei Shepelev & Huib Ottens)

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Taildragger Tales

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