Update: The pilot has been identified.
The last remaining example of a Northrop N9M Flying Wing prototype crashed near Chino, California today, taking the life of the pilot, whose name is being withheld for now. The aircraft was owned and operated by the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino.
Photos of the crash site, which is on the grounds of a prison, show almost nothing left of the aircraft. No one on the ground was injured, as the area is presently under construction.
The N9MB was the fourth and last of the type, built in the early 1940s for flight testing during development of the larger B-35 Flying Wing bomber. One of the other examples crashed during testing and the other two were scrapped after the program was canceled. The flying wing bomber design, pioneered by Northrop, would eventually come to life as the highly advanced B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The N9MB survived, and was restored to flight condition by Planes of Fame in the 1980s and 90s. Like many of the museum’s aircraft, it became a regular performer at airshows in the area. The museum’s own airshow is scheduled to take place in Chino in less than two weeks, on May 4th and 5th. There is no word yet on if this incident will affect those plans.