Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Japanese Focke-Wulf Fw 190

From "Nihon Kokuki Shoshyu Vol.6" (Encyclopedia of Japanese Aircraft Vol.6), Shupan Kyodo, January 1972:
In 1943 the IJNAF imported one FW-190 A-5 from Germany transferred in a submarine. Tests between this plane and the Ki-84 and other single seat fighters were contacted mainly in Fusa airfield. Compared to other Japanese fighters, it was better in acceleration, climbing performance, armament etc. Furthermore, it was an inspirational design and Japanese airplane manufacturers learnt a lot about mass production planning and techniques. Together with the Me-210A they were the last planes imported by Japan
From Koku Fan magazine, February 1997 issue and the book "Rikugun Jiken Sentoki-tai" (Army Test Fighter Unit) by Watanabe Yoji, Green Arrow, September 1999: 
In charge of the tests contacted with the FW-190 in Fusa was LCDR Jimbo Susumu who was second in command of the Ki-84 tests.
Second in command of the FW-190 tests was LCDR Aramaki Yoshitsugu.
LCDR Aramaki, who was averagely built for a Japanese pilot, found the size of the cockpit of FW-190 exactly to his measurements, neither too narrow as in BF-109E, nor too spacious as in P-40. During take-off it didn't have deflection tendencies and had very good response to controls, going straight.
It had adequate climbing power and its acceleration speed during vertical flight, was exceptional. Responded very good to controls during manoeuvring and although it didn't have the diving acceleration speed of BF-109, it was good enough. According to LCDR Aramaki the plane's total performance was between the Type 4 (Ki-84 Hayate) and the Type 5 (Ki-100) fighter.
But the high reliability of the electric systems of the plane was exceptional and the difference in the manufacturing level was apparent everywhere.
From the top three planes that were test flown (BF-109E7, FW-190 A5, P-51C) the best was the FW-190A5.
WO Takezawa Toshiro remembers that the Focke-Wulf was a good plane, better that the Messerschmitt. Compared with the Messerschmitt, the Ki-61 was a better plane but in order to combat fighters, the FW was better than Ki-61 because the engine was more reliable. But the P-51 was better than the FW.
The four 20mm cannons and the two 7.92mm machine guns that the FW had, were more powerful than any Japanese single fighter had. Nevertheless, the range of Type 2 fighter (Ki-44 Shoki) was better.
From Koku Fan magazine, April 1957 issue, Aramaki interview:
Compared to Japanese aircraft it had good speed but flight performance was inferior. Compared to Me109 the Fw190 was easier to fly. Even though Aramaki was quite thin and wore summer suit, the cockpit of the Me109 was too tight for him. The Fw190's cockpit was more spacious so the control stick was easier to operate but not as comfortable as the Japanese aircraft. The Japanese type closer to the Fw190 was the Ki-84. There were no problems during circular turn and it was a very balanced aircraft overall.
Answering a question about the final fate of the aircraft, Aramaki replies that it was given on loan to a reconnaissance unit but doesn't know anything else. 
From Aireview #36, October 1954, article by Kuroe Yasuhiko:
The Me109 and the Fw190 were very similar aircraft in character. The Fw190 was really horrible during circular turn but starting speed was good and it was very pleasant to fly. It was also very reliable and a fine example of German technology.
During one of the test flight he had to land without extending the flaps. Upon inspection it was found that one of the ground crew members had forgotten a wrench inside the wing. The lesson of this was that if there was a problem with the aircraft it would be due to human error. A characteristic of German aircraft.
During mock-up air battle testing if the aircraft was in unfavourable position and the pilot chose to escape in a sharp dive, the pursuing Ki-84 had no chance to follow the Fw190.
Sudden speed acceleration was great and resembled a short distance speed runner. During high speeds it flew very smoothly giving a very favourable impression of an aircraft designed for speed giving an advantage during high speed air battles.   
Good photos taken by Kariya ? in September or early October 1943, in Maru magazine, June 1974 issue taken during a fun flight from Fusa to Tokorozawa. In the cockpit is pilot LCDR Jimbo who passed away during the war. Unfortunately the tail of the Fw190 is not visible in any of the photos so it is unknown if there was any marking.

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