Thursday, 23 October 2014

Gliders - Kyu-Te Model 5 Secondary Glider "Aso-go"

The Kyu-Te Model 5 Secondary Glider "Aso-go" was designed and built by the shipbuilding faculty of the University of Kyushu; called at the time "Kyushu Teikoku Daigaku" (Imperial Kyushu University) and therefore the "Kyu-Te" part of the name. The only example of the type, with the civilian designation J-BCYH,  started to be built in early June 1933 and was completed in the middle of August of the same year. 


 
The first flight was on August 27 near Mount Aso, Kumamoto prefecture (don't forget to take a look at the Wiki link) from where the glider took its name. In the cockpit was the famous Japanese glider pilot Shizuru Tadao and the 20 minute flight established an unofficial national endurance record.
 
"Aso-go" next to another Kyu-Te glider, Model 3 Secondary Glider "Jumonji-go" J-BCAH 
 
 After the first flight pilot Shizuru is standing in front of "Aso-go".
 
On August 2, 1934 Count Fushimi Hirohide visited Kyushu University for a close inspection of the glider. In the photo below starting from the right is Count Fushimi's aide-de-camp, professor Shogenji principal of the engineering department of the university, professor Hashimoto, Count Fushimi and associate professor Sato Hiroshi main designer and responsible for the Kyu-Te Model 5 glider programme.
 
 
On September 11, 1934 at 12:37, again with Shizuru Tadao in the cockpit, "Aso-go" took off again and soared for 1 hour, 26 minutes and 10 seconds, covering a distance of about 50km and reaching a height of about 830m. It was the first time the 1 hour record for a secondary glider was broken in Japan.  



The map below shows the record flight.
 
The area where Shizuru landed is called Kuju highlands and there is a monument commemorating the flight. The area is still used for gliding by Japan's Student's Aviation League. (photo from here)

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