Jack Northrop: King of wing
The sleek B-2 stealth bomber emerged from the azure sky like a spectral alien, accompanied by the roar of thunder rumbling from the afterburners of its four General Electric F-118 engines. The low flyby above a million spectators lining the Rose Parade on Jan. 1 was hair-raising. The most advanced and unique aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, literally a flying wing, was the brainchild of an aeronautical genius, Jack Northrop, who originated the idea more than 80 years ago. Famed aviation pioneer Donald Douglas once said, "Every airplane flying today has some Jack Northrop in it." But Northrop encountered severe turbulence as he soared into aviation history with more than 50 unique aircraft designs, and his Flying Wing was enshrined with enough controversy to pique the interest of the most reluctant conspiracy theorist.