Historic Northrop N-9M Crashes in California, Killing Pilot

A Northrop N-9M, like the one pictured above, crashed in California on April 22, 2019. Photo by CindyN.

A historic Northrop N-9M, an early 1940s aircraft that began the “flying wing” design that ultimately led to aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit bomber, crashed Monday in California killing the pilot.

The aircraft, the last of four originally built in 1942, crashed around noon on Monday in the yard of a Riverside County prison facility in Norco, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Video from KTLA showed wreckage of the yellow aircraft strewn across an open area of the sprawling corrections facility.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter it was beginning an investigation into the crash.

The aircraft was part of the nearby Planes of Fame Museum in Chino. It was obtained by the museum from the Air Force in the 1950s and restoration was completed in the 1990s.

Northrop originally built the aircraft as an engineering development vehicle to gather data for the XB-35 bomber. It first flew in 1942. One of the prototypes crashed and killed the test pilot in 1943.