The NASM's Horten H IX V.3 Flying Wing is being prepared for shipment to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Center this month. Here we see shop Foreman Rob Mawhinney gently guiding forklift operators Amelia Kile, Carl Schuettler, Anthony Wallace, and Carl Bobrow as they carefully lower the unique prototype onto its purpose-built cradle. The artifact is incredibly fragile, and it was vital to get it perfectly balanced on the frame. (photo by Lauren Horelick via NASM)

The NASM’s Horten H IX V3 Flying Wing is being prepared for shipment to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar this month. Here we see shop Foreman Rob Mawhinney gently guiding forklift operators Amelia Kile, Carl Schuettler, Anthony Wallace, and Carl Bobrow as they carefully lower the unique prototype onto its purpose-built cradle. The artifact is incredibly fragile, and it was vital to get it perfectly balanced on the frame. (photo by Lauren Horelick via NASM)

WarbirdsNews has some welcome news coming from the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. The center section for their unique Horten H IX V3 is being prepared for transport to their Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. This radical-looking, flying wing is the prototype for what would have been the formidable Horten Ho-229 jet fighter with the Luftwaffe had WWII lasted much longer. Only one of the prototypes flew, and it crashed, but the Horten brother’s had proven the basic concept with smaller, but similarly-shaped gliders, so it really was only a matter of time and resources before the jet-powered variant could have been perfected for combat. NASM’s example is the last of her breed. American forces captured her in the closing days of the war, and shipped her back to the US for evaluation. The aircraft is based upon a steel frame, but the exterior cladding is mostly plywood, which is in quite poor condition with significant delamitation in places.

A vintage photograph of NASM's Horten IX sometime after capture by US forces. (Photo credit: Mr. Kenneth S. Kik. Copyright unknown)

A vintage photograph of NASM’s Horten IX sometime after capture by US forces. (Photo credit: Mr. Kenneth S. Kik. Copyright unknown)

NASM has selected the aircraft for display inside the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at their Udvar-Hazy Center. The wings have been at the facility for some time, and now NASM has mounted the center section to a custom-built steel frame at its long-time home, the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Center in Silver Hill, Maryland. A sturdy cover will eventually be mounted to the steel cradle, totally enveloping the aircraft for protection on its roughly 40 mile journey to Chantilly. NASM is currently talking with local transportation officials to plan the route and timing for the move, which will likely happen later this summer. Hopefully, this amazing aircraft will join the restoration queue in the near future for preservation, and formal display in the main building. However, NASM’s rare Martin B-26 Marauder “Flak Bait” is next in line for restoration at present, with the nose section on its way from their downtown Washington, DC headquarters in the coming days.

Many thanks indeed to the National Air & Space Museum for permitting us to use their wonderful photographs.

Jennifer Stringfellow (left) keeps a close eye on proceedings, calling out adjustments to Rob  on the forklift as he positions the Horten on the steel frame. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

Jennifer Stringfellow (left) keeps a close eye on proceedings, calling out adjustments to Rob Mawhinney on the forklift as he positions the Horten on the steel frame. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

Rob calling out positioning adjustments to the other forklift operators. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM).

Rob Mawhinney calling out positioning adjustments to the other forklift operators. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM).

The Horten's center section is seen suspended in position above the steel transport frame. A contractor is welding a fitting to the cradle which will allow a mounting bolt to firmly attach the nose wheel bogey to the frame. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

The Horten’s center section is seen suspended in position above the steel transport frame. A contractor is welding a fitting to the cradle which will allow a mounting bolt to firmly attach the nose wheel bogey to the frame. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

A final image of the  contract welder attaching the nose wheel fitting to the transport cradle. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

A final image of the contract welder attaching the nose wheel fitting to the transport cradle. (Lauren Horelick photo via NASM)

The Horten H IX V3's cockpit, which is mostly complete, though missing a few instruments. (NASM photo)

The Horten H IX V3’s cockpit, which is mostly complete, though missing a few instruments. (NASM photo)

 

 

8 Comments

  1. this is great….thanks again

  2. I am confused, when I visited the center last year it was already there. I took a lot of pics of the center section and of the wings.

  3. I’m surprised they go to the trouble of building a custom steel frame to transport it a short distance, but in doing so weld within a few feet of the irreplaceable wooden aircraft without a protection screen in place or a fire extinguisher immediately at hand.

    • I totaly agree and would go further. Welding that to that structure will transmitt all vibration during transport into the already fragile airframe and turbines. Vibrodampers like every turbine-cradle has evtl??
      What about some protection before welding like amateurs.. Seeing that gives me gooseflesh. Typical american.
      .

  4. Retired In Kalifornia says:

    Am hoping, praying, a bazillionaire will cough up the cash to make a – nay several – flying replicas based on this forthcoming NASM restoration. The sight of seeing such a futuristic aircraft in formation with a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit would get whole lotta international press attention. Keeping the popcorn handy here…

  5. Alfredo Rubio Delgado says:

    Hello, thanks for share. Do you know how is the restoration? I am a fan of that plane. Thanks

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