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Thirteen YB-35s were ordered on Sept. 30, 1942, as service test aircraft. A contract for a planned initial production run of 200 B-35Bs was signed in June 1943; however, numerous problems and delays caused the entire production program to be canceled. The B-35 program was continued specifically to gather test data on flying wings.
Only the first YB-35 (S/N 42-102366) was ever completed and flown. Because the propeller-driven B-35 was deemed obsolete by the late 1940s, the USAF decided to authorize modification of two YB-35s by installing eight jet engines. These two aircraft were redesignated YB-49. Another YB-35A was modified with six jet engines and became the YRB-49A.
The YB-35 flight test program only lasted a few months in mid-1948. The single flying YB-35 was in storage for about a year before being scrapped in 1949. The derivative YB-49 and YRB-49A programs continued into the late 1940s and early 1950s. Neither of these jet-powered flying wing programs were successful, and the last aircraft (YRB-49A) was scrapped in November 1953.
Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is named after YB-49 copilot Glenn Edwards who was killed in a June 5, 1948, crash that destroyed the second YB-49.
||Flying wing service test aircraft
- The first eight YB-35s were built to XB-35 specifications (two of the eight became YB-49)
- The last five YB-35s (42-102374 to 42-102378) built to improved specifications and designated YB-35A (one of the five became YRB-49A)
- 200 B-35B (S/N 43-35126 to 43-35325) on order were canceled before construction began; Martin was scheduled to build the aircraft to replace B-29s
- One YB-35A (42-102378) became testbed for XT-37 Turbodyne turboshaft engines and designated YRB-35 (replaced XB-35, 42-13603, originally scheduled for modification)
- Four YB-35 and 3 YB-35A became YB-35B (spare parts aircraft)
- Two YB-35s (42-102367 and 42-102368) modified with jet engines to become YB-49
- One YB-35A (42-102376) modified with jet engines to become YRB-49A
Armament: 20 .50-cal. plus 51,200 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radials of 3,000 hp each (takeoff power)
Maximum speed: 391 mph at 35,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 183 mph
Range: 8,150 miles with 16,000 lbs. bomb load
Service ceiling: 39,700 ft.
Span: 172 ft.
Length: 53 ft. 1 in.
Height: 20 ft.
Weight: 180,000 lbs. (maximum gross weight)
Crew: Nine (plus space for six relief crewmen)
Serial numbers: 42-102366 to 42-102378
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