39" XP56 "Black Bullet"

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The kit includes everything you need to build the airframe. The wing has a doubled-over leading edge like our Konet, for strength. The kit will include a vacuum-formed nose cone. Detailed building instructions are provided on a CD included with the kit. To complete the model as shown, you will also need: a receiver and 3-cell battery two 9g micro-servos 24gm brushless motor, 9x7 3-bladed prop and appropriate speed controller (included in our motor combo) paint, glue etc.


Historical Information

In the early 1940s Jack Northrop designed the Black Bullet using the basic wing design of his original flying wing design, in order to create a fighter plane with excellent performance. The powerful in-line engine that was in development for this plane was cancelled, and so Northrop installed an R-2800 radial engine and two counter-rotating 3-bladed props. Due to the size of the radial engine, the plane's fuselage became much larger in diameter and gave it it's characteristic "bullet" shape. The original XP-56 had a very short vertical fin and downward-sloping wingtips, much like a paper airplane design! During it's first few flights it suffered a blown main tire on a high-speed taxi run and flipped over three times, miraculously ejecting the test pilot still in his seat - they found the pilot near the wreckage sitting in his seat with only minor injuries. Northrop built a second prototype with a few modifications such as a much larger vertical fin, and it also made several test flights. The plane was nose-heavy and didn't rotate until it reached 160 mph. The plane was unstable and difficult to fly, and had difficulty reaching it's expected speed. After some time experimenting with the center of gravity and experiencing various control problems, the project was shelved and then finally cancelled.

Of course this is a really interesting and unique airplane, and I hope that our model will help prove that Jack Northrop's design concept was valid. The first prototype flew in the spring of 2009 and did suffer from some really bizarre control issues. The model had an adverse-yaw problem, most likely due to the flat nose acting like a forward rudder. It flew much better after the intallation of a smaller propeller, but it still needed a better solution. I installed a new wing with the same design as our ME163 Komet and flew it many times during the summer of 2009. It looks really great in the air. In early 2010 I created a fibreglass nose cone and the model turned into an excellent flier, all the bad habits disappeared! It is extremely maneuverable and yet stable in level flight - but could use more speed. I am looking forward to installing a CR dual brushless motor and 2 props - which will be TOTALLY cool!!