Cowboy: interpreter, warlord, one more casualty

A Glen Edwards photo album

"Buffalo Dave" over the Tunisian mountains, 14 Feb 1943. The pilot was Dave Bensley, Glen's tentmate and best friend in North Africa; the photo could well have been taken from Glen's A-20B. Note the skull thumbing his nose, unofficial emblem of the 86th Bomb Squadron. (Photo kindness of John Swancara)

Lt. Glen Edwards in North Africa, winter of 1942-1943. The strain of combat has etched crowsfeet beside his eyes. He was 24 years old when this photo was taken. (Photo kindness of the Edwards family)

Posing with the Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster, on which Edwards was chief military test pilot, and in which he set a coast-to-coast speed record. From left: Lt. Glenn Anderson, Capt. Glen Edwards, Gene May (the plane's designer), Col. Fred Ascani (chief of Bomber Test at Wright Field), and Lt? David Seawell. (Photo from Air Force Flight Test Center History Office)

The N-9M technology demonstrator was a one-third-scale model of the big Flying Wing bomber. When it decided to buy two XB-35s toward the end of 1941, the U.S. Army also provided funds for three of these technology demonstrators. A fourth was authorized after the first one crashed, killing its pilot. Glen Edwards made a familiarization flight on N-9MB in March 1946 and wrote a fairly upbeat report for Flight Test Division. (Northrop photo)

Taildragger Tales

The Northrop assembly hangar in Hawthorne, a suburb of Los Angeles. One of the N-9Ms at center and one of the XB-35 airframes in the background. The Northrop factory was too small for anything but handwork, so the big Wings were to have been produced elsewhere--the B-35s by the Glenn Martin Company and the RB-49s by Convair. (Northrop photo)

Northrop XB-35 Flying Wing bomber over what appears to be one of the dry lakes at Muroc Army Air Base. The "X" models were cursed with mechanical problems, and in their combined lifetimes managed less than 40 hours of flight time. (Northrop photo)

The YB-49 at play over the Mojave Desert. The big Flying Wing could actually turn inside its P-80 chase plane, and most mechanical problems were resolved by the change to turbojet power. But Air Force pilots were leery of its behavior in a stall, and it was an unstable bombing platform. (Northrop photo)

Tales of the Flying Tigers

Taking off from Muroc Air Force Base at the south end of Rogers Dry Lake, the YB-49 lays down the characteristic trail of kerosene exhaust. In 1948, Muroc had these two hangars and some derelict barracks at South Base, and an even more desolate facility at the secret Test Base at the north end of the lakebed. But the sun shone almost every day of the year, the base was far from any population center, and Rogers Dry Lake provided an eight-mile landing field if anything went wrong. (Northrop photo)

Celebrating a record-breaking flight in February 1949, the gang poses for the photographer at Andrews AFB outside Washington DC. On the far right is Sgt. William Cunningham, the YB-49's flight engineer, whom a Northrop executive would defame as a saboteur. Beside him is Northrop test pilot Max Stanley, copilot on the flight from Muroc to Andrews. Third from right is Major Robert Cardenas, the aircraft commander. They averaged 511 mph--but Major Russ Schleeh was following in a Boeing XB-47, and he crossed the country at 603 mph. (Photo kindness of Brig. Gen. Cardenas)

Last of the line, the YRB-49 reconnaissance bomber takes off from Northrop Field in May 1950, by which time the Flying Wing program had been canceled. This version had four turbojets within the airfoil and two in pods beneath. Jack Northrop loathed the pods, and the extra fuel it could carry was consumed by drag and a requirement that the tanks be leakproof. The plane spent its final years at Ontario airport, and was scrapped during the Eisenhower administration. (Northrop photo)

These photos belong to the individual or organization who loaned them to me. Please don't repost without permission!

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the Glen Edwards diaries

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