September 12, 1945: Flying Ram Aerial Tragedy

  • Published
  • US Army Air Froces

Northrop’s highly innovative XP-79B Flying Ram crashed and was destroyed during its first flight. Its pilot, Harry Crosby, tried unsuccessfully to bail out. The XP-79B was the jet-powered version of an experimental rocket-propelled flying wing fighter with a reinforced leading edge, rumored to be used for ramming enemy planes. The program was soon canceled.

The Northrop XP-79, USAAF project number MX-365, was an ambitious design for a flying wing fighter aircraft, designed by Northrop. It had several notable design features; among these, the pilot would operate the aircraft from a lying position, permitting the pilot to withstand much greater g-forces in the upward and downward direction with respect to the plane – and welded magnesium monocoque structure instead of riveted aluminum.

American Northrop Test Pilot. Before World War II built and flew the CR-3 and CR-4 racing aircraft. Hired by Northrop before 1942 as a company test pilot, flying the exotic MX-324, JB-1 and XP-56 flying wing aircraft. Killed in the crash of the XP-79B in 1945.

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