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This WWII-era flying wing crashed in a California prison yard after doing a 'barrel roll,' according to the NTSB
The historic Northrop N-9M flying wing that crashed in a Norco, California prison yard in late April apparently executed a "barrel roll" before plummeting to the ground, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report.
One of four flying wings originally built in 1944 as test aircraft in support of the XB-35 and YB-35 experimental bombers developed for the U.S. Army Air Forces, the ultra-rare N-9M crashed at the California Rehabilitation Center on April 22nd, killing pilot David Vopat.
Moments before the crash, multiple witnesses "reported observing the airplane flying on a north eastern heading at a low altitude when it performed a 'barrel roll,'" according to the NTSB report.
"Several witnesses reported that after the maneuver, the airplane 'wobbled [from] side to side' before the airplane's canopy separated. Shortly after, the airplane entered a steep right turn, and descended into the ground in a nose low attitude."
The loss of Vopat and the N-9M is both heartbreaking and tragically unsurprising given the flying wing's inherent stability problems. But The War Zone's Tyler Rogoway smartly observes, there remains some uncertainty as to whether the "maneuver" observed by ground-based bystanders was actually an intentional barrel roll or evidence of another problem:
I have never heard of the N-9M, an antique that was built in the 1940s, doing barrel rolls at air shows, although that is based on seeing the performance myself and watching videos of it in the past. Such a maneuver in that airframe sounds excessively risky, especially if it hadn't been a staple maneuver that had been repeated many times over at altitude and cleared for air show routines in the past. The low altitude environment that the aircraft was flying in the time of the crash would have offered nearly zero chance of a safe recovery after a departure from controlled flight.
What we don't know for certain at this time is if the maneuver was intentional or if some unknown circumstance caused a maneuver similar to a barrel roll before the aircraft departed completely from controlled flight.
Either way, the vintage N-9M's destruction is a tragedy itself: the spiritual ancestor of the B-2 Spirit, it was the last of its kind.
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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.