Out of all the airplanes in the world, if I was offered to own and operate a flying version of any of them, I would totally pick this one. The YB-49 has got to be one of the coolest airplanes to come out of the 50s and the Cold War
Only two airframes were ever built, as it was just a prototype airframe. It first flew on October 22 1947, and set numerous endurance records. The design seemed very promising, reducing drag because of the elimination of an elevator and large tail structure. It was nuclear capable, but the Air Force preferred the B-36 peacemaker as it had a larger payload. The second prototype to be made was on a routine test flight, when the wings pretty much folded in on itself, killing the crew in the following crash. A few months later, the other airframe was destroyed during a high speed taxi test. The airframe started suffering severe vibrations and essentially collapsed in on itself. After that, the program was cancelled, and the Air Force donated the smaller, propeller driven flying wings to the Smithsonian.
It was powered by 8 Allison J35 turbo jets, and carried a crew of six. It had a range of almost 10,000 miles, was armed with four .50 Cal’s mounted in a radio controlled “stinger” cone near the tail. The YB-49 had a capable bombload of 16,000 pounds.
(It’s freaking massive too look at this)
I love this aircraft. It has that weird, 50s let’s try something and see if it works feel to it. I wish that at least one of these airframes survived, but sadly they did not. Sorry for being two days late with this topic, got busy of weekend.