The Chino-based Planes of Fame Air Museum’s Northrop N9MB flying wing, N9MB, crashed into the prison yard at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco at noon on 22 April, killing the pilot David Vopat. There were no casualties on the ground.
Constructed in 1942 as a one-third scale test aircraft for the Northrop XB-35 flying wing bomber, the twin 300hp Franklin XO-540-7-powered machine was the only survivor of four examples built. Acquired by Planes of Fame in 1982, it was restored over the following decade, primarily by former Northrop employees, flying again in 1993. David Vopat had been the regular pilot of the pretty, yellow-painted wing over the past few years.