Swept-Wing Wonder, Part III
By Scott Schwartz
Outfitting the Model 450 with tricycle landing gear would have necessitated the placement of bulges in the wings. This, of course, would have disrupted the smooth aerodynamics of the thin wings. Ironically, it was another demand placed on the design by the Air Force that led to a solution to the landing-gear problem.
The Air Force wanted the new bomber to be able to carry an atomic bomb. Since atomic bombs were very large, during the 1940s, aircraft carrying them needed very large bomb bays. A bomb bay large enough to accommodate the atom bomb would not leave much room for landing gear to be mounted in the fuselage. Well, luckily, the Air Force also came up with a solution to its problem – namely a “bicycle” landing gear arrangement. In other words there would be two main landing gear trucks mounted in the fuselage, fore and aft.