AUBRY GRATTON COLLECTION
No. 9880. Northrop N-1M (NX28311 c/n 40)
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 3606

Northrop N-1M

005/31/2010. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "In July, 1939, Jack Northrop began engineering tests for a new 'Flying Wing' that would have no tail surfaces or fuselage and the power plant and crew would be accommodated within the contours of the aerofoil so that there are no portions of the aircraft which do not contribute directly to lift, with the exception of the propeller shaft-drive housings which would extend for a short distance above the wing.

The first experimental model was designed as a one-half to one-third scale model known as the N-1M (reportedly the 'M' stood for Mockup or Model). It had provisions for a number of different type of wing-tips, control surfaces and surface control mechanisms, including wing tip rudders, and elevons (serving both as elevators and ailerons, it was the first successful application of the elevon). The CofG was variable, and it had a retractable tricycle landing gear.

Powered by two 65 hp Lycoming O-145 four-cylinder horizontal-opposed air-cooled engines which drove pusher screws through 10 ft (3.05 m) extension shafts, the first flight was made by Chief Test Pilot Vance Breese at Baker Dry Lake on July 3, 1940. Early test flights proved the aircraft to be underpowered and the engines were replaced by two 120 hp Franklin 6AC-264-F2 six-cylinder horizontal-opposed air-cooled engines. The early test flights also proved the aircraft with down-turned wing-tips to be satisfactory in control, but too stable in the air in this condition, so these were straightened.

Shortly thereafter, the flight test program was turned over to Moye W. Stephens, Northrop Test Pilot and Secretary to the Northrop Corporation and during 1940 and 1941, over 200 flights were made in this aircraft (nicknamed 'The Jeep') to gather further data. In 1945, Northrop turned the N-1M over to the USAAF, in August 1946 it was given to the NASM. In 1979 a four-year restoration was started at the Paul E. Garber Restoration and Storage Facility, where it remained till 2003 when it was placed in the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Created May 31, 2010