Arawasi contest #8

Friday, 9 March 2012

J- Registration Mystery

A rather esoteric subject today.
The July 1941 issue of the magazine "Koku Asahi" features an article regarding a visit to the glider factory of the company Ito Hikoki. The photo below is one of the many that accompanied the article and shows in the foreground the final stages in the construction of a primary glider. Nothing extraurdinary here but notice the glider or aircraft in the background on the right. The registration is either J-BBGE or J-BBGL.

The website "GOLDEN YEARS OF AVIATION" (HERE) lists the J-BBGE as "Itoh Universal Glider" while the J-BBGL is listed simply as "Biplane".
Considering that the photo was taken during a visit to the factory of Ito Hikoki, I lean towards the J-BBGE registration. But here lies the mystery. What can be seen in the photo points to an aircraft with long landing gear and a fairly large size, bigger than a glider fuselage. According to the book "Nihon no Guraida" (HERE), the so-called "Universal Gliders" that Ito built were primary or secondary gliders with the only modification that the pilot area was enclosed. Therefore I don't think that the J-BBGE we see in the photo is an Ito glider.
Question: Does anyone know what airplane or glider this could be or is there a photo of the completed J-BBGE?


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