Monday 30 March 2015

Japanese Airspeed Envoy

A brilliant photo of a Japanese built Airspeed Envoy with the registration  J-BAOS in Haneda Airport. According to the Civil Aircraft Register it was the eighth aircraft produced by Mitsubishi.
Here's what Wiki has to say about the type in Japanese service:
"Two Envoy-Is were delivered to Japan in 1935, one for evaluation by the Japan Air Transport Co. (NKYKK - Nihon Koku Yuso KK) and one for the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service as the Airspeed LXM. With the acquisition of a licence, production started at the Nagoya Mitsubishi factory of the Mitsubishi Hinazuru-type Passenger Transport, initially powered by Gasuden Jimpu engines, but later using licence built Armstrong Siddeley Lynx or Wolseley Aries Mk.III engines. Mitsubishi built aircraft also had landing flaps which were not fitted to Airspeed built Envoys. Flight testing of the Jimpu powered aircraft resulted in a crash, killing the flight test observer, (the first fatality during flight testing of Mitsubishi aircraft), blamed on the engines producing excessive drag, resulting in the switch to licence-built British engines. Eleven aircraft were built at Nagoya before production ceased, all of which flew domestic services for NKYKK (later to become Greater Japan Airways)."

 Peter Starkings added:

Six of these low wing monoplane passenger transports were imported by Mitsubishi in early 1935. Five were for NKYKK to replace its Fokker Super Universals and one was for evaluation by the IJN; in mid-1935 Mitsubishi also obtained licensed production rights. The imported aircraft were:

AS.6 C/n 37, ex G-ADCB, registered J-BDDO
AS.6, C/n 38, ex G-ADCC, first registered J-BDAO, then J-EDAO
AS.6 C/n 40, ex G-ADCE, registered J-BDEO
AS.6A, C/n 41, registered J-BAOH
AS.6A, C/n 42, first registered J-BDBO, then J-EDBO
AS.6, C/n 43, first registered J-BDCO, then J-EDCO

It is not known for certain which aircraft was evaluated by the IJN as Airspeed Envoy Transport Plane, LXM1, but the most likely possibility is C/n 41 as its registration is out of sequence with the other five. This registration might have been issued later on release by the Navy after its evaluation and at the time when the Mitsubishi built aircraft were registered as it is in sequence with them (see below). In any event, the IJN took no further interest in it.

The Mitsubishi built aircraft were designated Hinazuru (Young Crane) and the first, registered J-BAOD, was equipped with flaps and Gasuden Jimpȗ 5A engines, but eventually crashed on flight trials. Unfortunately the pilot was badly injured and the accompanying engineer killed, the first Mitsubishi test flying fatality since it started aircraft production 17 years previously. The cause was recorded as a stall, thought to be due to the engine installation as the original Townend Ring cowlings had been enlarged to accommodate the Jimpȗ 5A, thus disrupting airflow over the wings. The remaining ten production aircraft all omitted the flaps and appear to have been fitted with various engines, either more imported Aries or Lynx type as on the original Envoys, or Lynx type, licence built by Mitsubishi. They were all supplied to NKYKK during 1936/38 registered BAOI/OK/OP/OR/OV/OW and BAOL/OQ/OS/OX, later re-registered DAOL/OQ/OS/OX, respectively, but those with the unreliable locally built engines were restricted to flights over mainland Japan and Taiwan.

Mitsubishi production of the Hinazuru started in 1936 and was terminated in 1938.
Thank you very much Peter for the additional information.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf"

A photo today from a vintage, April 2, 1942, publication featuring a Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf" retrieved by  a motor boat in the sea north of Hokkaido. The ship in the background with the three funnels is ether cruiser Tama or Kiso which patrolled the area at that time. Both cruisers were particularly active during the Aleutians campaign.   

Saturday 28 March 2015

Mitsubishi A6M3 - Auckland Museum

Some time ago Mike sent me these photos he took of the Mitsubishi A6M3 on display in Auckland Museum.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Mike Goodwin

Woke up this morning and checked my email. I thought it was spam but after a closer look it was a rare email from Fabienne. Mike Goodwin, our good friend, is no longer with us. One of the founding members of Arawasi, contributed in numerous ways to our magazine and shared his enthusiasm and passion for Japanese aviation, X-planes and engines. His move to New Zealand kept him busy but he was there when we needed him. I remember him explaining that he got fascinated with aircraft engines when as a kid got his first model and was bewildered by the tiny engine.
A true friend, Mike will be sorely missed and will always stay in our hearts and minds.
Very difficult to describe how sad we are and our thoughts are with Fabienne and William.

Saturday 21 March 2015

Collector's Items

Vintage and rare kits recently on-sale on the Japanese Ebay.

Nihon Bunka Kyozaisha, Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", 1/60

Nitto, Zero, scale unknown
Painted and very easy to assemble kit with engine

Contrail, Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally", 1/48
Vac-form with metal parts. First time I see this one.

Midori, Nakajima Ki-43-2Otsu "Hayabusa", 1/28

Tomy, Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", 1/32 

Doyusha, Kawanishi N1K2-J "George", 1/28

And the weirdest kit ever!!! Why would anyone buy and built one???
Aoshima, Loo, 1/12

Sunday 15 March 2015

Nakajima Ki-27 - 101 Kyoiku Hiko Rentai by Zygmunt Szeremeta

Our good friend Zygmunt Szeremeta sent over artwork of the Nakajima Ki-27 belonging to the 101 Kyoiku Hiko Rentai.

Dziękuję bardzo Zygmunt!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Nakajima Ki-27 - 101 Kyoiku Hiko Rentai

A photo today featuring about a dozen Nates belonging to the 101 Kyoiku Hiko Rentai (101 Training Air Regiment). The unit was organised on September 30, 1941 providing fighter training and its base was at the Kakogawa airfield, Hyogo prefecture. In August 1943, when the 114 Training Air Regiment was organised, 101 contributed one chutai. A part of 101 was also sent to contribute to the organisation of the 32 Kyoiku Hiko-tai (32nd Fighter Training Unit) in February 1944. Finally, on March 31, 1944 the 101st was reorganised as the 1st Fighter Training Unit.
Note the small numbers over the tail marking, the one on the foreground is a "" (3) and on the tail of the second aircraft "一六" (16)
The airfield at Kakogawa opened in 1937 providing defence for the Kansai region and training Shonen Hikohei (Youth Air Soldiers). It was the base of the 13th and the 246th Sentai and had three air strips forming a triangle. It was still there until the mid '50s but now is gone.  
Hasegawa has released a kit for the second aircraft in 1/48.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate" by Major Aramaki

Major Aramaki Yoshitsugu* was a member of the IJAAF Aviation test department if Fusa and test flew many experimental aircraft. The 1980 Maru Mechanic on the Nakajima Ki-27, featured a short article with his impression on the "Nate". Below is our selective translation.

Compared with other aircraft the Ki-27 looked very lightweight. The footbar was very soft and sensitive and the pilot could easily make corrections when shooting. During taxing, the aircraft has the tendency to turn to port, probably due to torque, so the pilot has to be extra careful and make proper adjustments. The Type 91 fighter experienced the same problem but no other aircraft after the Ki-27 had it. After taking-off there are no issues with the aircraft whatsoever, steadily gaining speed and altitude. During cruising the plane has very smooth controls when changing direction. During aerobatics, the controls has excellent response and there was nothing to be particularly careful about. Even working the stick roughly and suddenly, does not cause any autorotation. During air battle the aircraft has excellent response changing direction at pilot’s will. Nevertheless as a light fighter aircraft it naturally has low diving speed compared to other types.
In Nomonhan the slow diving Nates could not catch the I-16s and they sometimes escaped. But the Japanese pilots at that time were particularly skillful and could predict their opponents’ intentions and react accordingly. That’s why they were so successful. The Nate had an exceptionally good performance during shooting and with outstanding response in the controls the bullets basically hit their target without the pilot giving much thought. With this aircraft experts pilots all became aces.
During landing again the controls are excellent and the pilot can easily direct the aircraft making a very soft landing. It was a very good aircraft to land behind enemy lines or land and help shot down parachuted fellow pilots. Right behind the pilot there was plenty of space for two more passengers which climbed in through the emergency access hatch under the cockpit. The legs were rather thin but strong enough. They were quite apart from each other making it a very stable aircraft during landing on particularly rough fields. The Nate was also not nose heavy so there were few instances of rolling over.
To improve range the Nate was fitted with one drop tank under each wing. Initially these were box shaped causing numerous problems when released, hitting the wings etc. The fuel was also consumed very quickly so actually there was no real gain from this design. The units these were given to refused to use them. Later these drop tanks were replaced with others that had the shape of an egg in half but still these were not sufficient.
About 3000 Ki-27s were produced by Nakajima, Tachikawa, Manpi and others. Apart from them there were experimental Ki-27kai that were still in Fusa until the end of the war**. These were made of alclad, were very shiny and their climbing and control performance was amazing.
*The kanji of Japanese names can very often be read in at least two different ways. Unless there is some furigana above the kanji (check the Wiki entry) to indicate the exact reading chosen by the individual, it is very difficult to know for sure. On a daily basis Japanese TV programmes apologise in the end and offer the correct reading of individuals that have misread somewhere in the programme. The first name of Major Aramaki is mentioned in "Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and their Aces" by Hata, Izawa & Shores as "Yoshiji" but Watanabe Yoji in his "Rikugun Jiken Sentoki-tai" (the Army Test Fighter Unit) clearly indicates that the first name of Major Aramaki is Yoshitsugu and here we prefer this reading.
For more on Japanese names, the Wiki enty, here, is thorough enough.
**This is a very little known Nate variant. According to Encyclopedia Vol. 5, in July 1940 two Nates were experimentally fitted with extra fuel tanks behind the pilot's seat in an effort to improve range. It was considered a dangerous modification and was not adopted by the Army. They were known as Ki-27kai and he is probably referring to them giving nevertheless some quite interesting extra information.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Kyushu Q1W "Tokai"

Two NARA photos today of a number of Kyushu Q1W "Tokai" found by US forces at the end of the War. Past "Tokai" posting, here

Saturday 7 March 2015

Yokosuka K4Y1

A photo from a vintage magazine featuring a Navy Type 90 Seaplane Trainer or Yokosuka K4Y1 belonging to Kasumigaura Kokutai. In the background is a Navy Type 13 Trainer or Yokosuka K1Y2.

Friday 6 March 2015

Hiro H1H

A very cool and dramatic photo from a vintage publication featuring two Hirosho H1H flying boats flying over Tokyo's Haneda airport. They belong to Tateyama Kokutai as indicated by the katakana "TA" on the top wing. 

Wednesday 4 March 2015

NEW RELEASE!!! More T-Shirts of Japanese Aircraft now available!!!

Due to the increasing popularity of the T-shirts, we are happy to announce that more designs are now available.
Visit our on-line store HERE for further details.

Aichi E16A "Zuiun", 634ku

Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden", 302ku


Kawanishi N1K2-J "Shiden-kai", 343ku


Tuesday 3 March 2015

Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance/Bomber KDA-2 - Aikoku #15

A set of photos today featuring Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance/Bomber KDA-2s.
The top is a photo of Aikoku #15 donated on April 24, 1932 by citizens of Miyagi Prefecture.

The other two photos show a KDA-2 getting bombed up and a close-up of the rear Army Type 89 flexible machine gun (special) detailing the particularly complex mount. 

Sunday 1 March 2015

Mitsubishi A6M3 Type 0 Model 32

A not often seen photo taken in Rabaul of an A6M3 Type 0 Model 32 which according to old FAOW#10 (1974) was given to 1st Kokutai when the unit was fighting in the Solomons between May and November 1942.