Northrop N9M-B Accident

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Jul 28, 2003
Chino, California, U.S.A.
I am very sorry to report that the Planes of Fame N9M-B Flying Wing has crashed in Norco, CA today, totally destroying the aircraft and fatally injuring pilot David Vopat.

David was one of the truly good guys who was friendly and outgoing to everyone. I do NOT have any information at this time except that it crashed and David did not survive. I will not speculate on it. David was VERY experienced, flying both airlines as well as a wide variety of golden era biplanes and WWII warbirds. His resume and museum experience was such that this accident is a shock to all of us.

Please keep David Vopat in your prayers.

Blue skies, David Vopat. I hope they have warbirds in heaven, and I hope the maintenance is always done before you get to any of them.
The Planes of Fame Northrup N-9M Flying Wing crashed yesterday, killing the pilot. It crashed onto the grounds of a state prison in Norco.

Blue skies and tail winds. My thioughts go out to all involved.

Accident Northrop N-9M Flying Wing N9MB, 22 Apr 2019

Historic small plane crashes, bursts into flames at state prison in Norco

Back in 2001 I had to go to my company's HQ, which is located on the north side of Torrance Airport. They were getting set up for an airshow that weekend and the N-9M was there, so I got to go over and see it. That inspired me to think about taking a 1/72 AMT XB-35 and using it to make a 1/24 N-9M - bit I have yet to do it.

Very sad. This is a real tragedy.
Broke my heart to hear that last night on the news. Not only for the death of a well liked and capable pilot, whose loss is better remembered in the above threads, but also the loss of an incredibly historic aircraft. The M-9N was built to test the wing design for the B-35 flying wing bomber. As such it is in the direct lineage of the B-35, B-49, and the B-2, a plane that intimidates the enemies of freedom today. Our prayers go out to the family and friends of the pilot that was lost.
Truly senseless and completely bewildering as to what happened. I hope they at least attempt to build a suitable replica as a museum article one day/some day
David was experiencing control surface difficulties. That airplane was hydraulic, and there were 70 mph gusts over Norco when he got there that day. He wasn't trying to go there and wasn't trying to fly aerobatics; he was trying to return and land, but was having issues controlling the airplane when the accident occurred. I'm guessing hydraulic difficulties and I KNOW I shouldn't be guessing.

But, he really was NOT a hot shot show-off. He was a great pilot who was having control issues and was trying to get home and down ... and didn't manage to make it.

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