The Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet was a radical design in 1939 when it was proposed to the USAAC in response to a request for unconventional aircraft. The Black Bullet was essentially a flying wing with both dorsal and ventral tails, but without any horizontal tails, and contra-pushing propellers. The skin was made from magnesium, due to an expected shortage of aluminum, for which Northrop engineers developed the heliarc welding process. Originally, the aircraft was to have a P&W X-1800 in-line liquid cooled engine, but that contract was cancelled and the P&W R-2800 air-cooled radial was substituted instead. Burying the radial engine in the fuselage (behind the cockpit) created cooling issues, added complexity, enlarged the fuselage cross-section, and created a 2,000 lb weight penalty. In spite of these issues, the little bird flew in September of 1943, but it was plagued with yaw sensitivity issues and an inability to reach projected speeds. The first prototype was destroyed when a tire blew out during a high-speed taxi run at Muroc. The second, and last, prototype made a few more flights, but jet engines were the future, and the project was abandoned. The second aircraft remains in storage at the National Air & Space Museum.
The Special Hobby kit was first issued by MPM, but has been upgraded with nicely done resin cockpit details and a photoetch fret. I'll be building this kit along my Avro Anson project. I haven't done much yet, just getting the cockpit painted and now working on the wings. This shouldn't take too long, as it's a small model with few parts - but I'm sure life will keep interrupting me. I'll be in London on holiday for 10 day towards the end of May, and I'd like to get this done before I leave, but no promises! I've posted a few photos for you to take a look at.
25. April at 19:15:42