Sunday, 7 March 2021

Kawanishi/Yokosuka K5Y1 "Akatonbo" (Willow) in the "Secret Base Museum"

Responding to a request by the "Secret Base Museum" in Kumamoto Prefecture, Koyosha, a company  involved in the design and production of exhibition spaces for cultural facilities and with three-dimensional modeling technology, built and delivered a 1:1 scale replica of a Kawanishi/Yokosuka K5Y1 "Akatonbo" trainer.

The photos below, courtesy of Kojima-san, show the trainer in the Koyosha hangar.

The total length is about 8.05 m, the width is about 10.9 m, and the height is 3.2 m. The iron metal frame was lined with polyester fabric for lightweight airplanes. The orange color of the iconic aircraft was reproduced using surviving fabric relics of the time. The seats, engine replica and propeller are all made of iron. The "rubber" wheels too are made of donut shaped iron. Total weight is 1 tonne.
There were many problems due to the corona virus, with the supply of the fabric from the US and the visit to Indonesia to study the sole surviving "Akatonbo". On top of that a flood greatly hampered the efforts, but in the end the finished aircraft looks really beautiful.
Below is an interview, from here, with Koyosha managing director Saito Hiroyuki. 

The "Secret Base Museum" (ひみつ基地ミュージアム) located in the remains of the IJNAF Hitoyoshi base and airfield underwent a major renovation and opened its gates on March 1, 2021, with the "Akatonbo" prominent among its exhibits. The page with the details of the museum is HERE and their facebook page, here.

1 comment:

Honza78 said...

One would shed a tear over that splendor.