Northtop Flying Wing, inflight computing / was Re: XH558 - was Re: using new technology etc
hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
Thu Jan 1 21:51:43 CST 1970
On 2015-Jun-19, at 9:07 AM, Christian Gauger-Cosgrove wrote:
> Bringing this topic full circle, does anyone know if any minicomputers
> (DEC PDP-8s or 11s, DG Novæ, HP 21XXs, et cetera) were ever used on
> aircraft? Not transported by one, but I mean setup and used on one.
On 2015-Jun-19, at 12:09 PM, Toby Thain wrote:
> On 2015-06-19 3:05 PM, geneb wrote:
>> On Fri, 19 Jun 2015, Toby Thain wrote:
>>> "in 1949 the Air Force ordered all the flying wings destroyed, all
>>> the jigs and tools destroyed, every trace of the flying wing
>>> eradicated. A few years later even the engineering drawings were all
>>> destroyed by new Northrop management."
>> I don't know why they went to those lengths, but it's my understanding
>> that the program was cancelled because at the time, the USAAF (USAF?)
>> mandated stall testing as part of their development programs. Without
>> serious flight control computers, stalling a flying wing just ends up in
>> a freshly planted aluminum tree. Even WITH good computers, stalling a
>> flying wing is a Bad Idea(tm). AFAIK, the B-2 has never been stalled
>> (on purpose), even during development.
> Thanks. I knew there must be more to it... I wonder if the cited book covers this angle.
To tie these two lines of question together (and bring it back very much on-topic), the BINAC (amongst the first stored-program computers, 1949)
was supplied to Northrop for research into airborne flight control (quick web search says part of the Snark missile project),
I'm not suggesting the BINAC and YB-49 (the flying wing) were connected, but it's interesting they were contemporary projects both at Northrop, and computer control was just what the flying wing needed.
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