Northrop Flying Wings...

...X-Planes No 10, from Osprey Publishing

Title: Northrop Flying Wings

Author: Peter E. Davies

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-2507-0

Number 10 in the X-Plane series from Osprey is this new one, taking on the topic of the Flying Wing designs, and those in particular from Jack Northrop, the US aircraft designer. An 80-page softcover book the story is spread across 6 chapters. The first provides the background, 'Flying Wing Fascination', which gives us some background to the early examples of Flying Wing designs, including one of the best known, the Ho229 from the Horten brothers in Germany. It goes on to one of the most determined Flying Wing designers, Jack Northrop. His early designs were quite small and included both propeller engine and jet designs. They helped identify and go about solving the problems with perfecting a flying wing design. Fortunately there are photos of those early test machines, along with some fine colour artwork.

We move on to Big Wing - B-35, with multiple propeller engines, before moving on to Jet Wings, with the YB-49, and again some excellent colour images of the test flights. Despite their best efforts, the designs were not perfected enough to get them put into production, and more conventional designs overtook them. Chapter 5 looks at the later work of Jack Northrop, 'What might Have Been'  with the final chapter, 6, 'The Spirit Lives On', as his vision for a flying wing eventually resurfaced in the form of the B-2 Spirit, the 'Stealth Bomber'. When the B-2 was revealed to the public, so it looked to be a very futuristic design, but as this book highlights, the whole idea had its' roots back with those early Jack Northrop test aircraft.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.