Friday, 24 March 2023

Quiz #3 - Answer

Okay. That seemed to be easy enough, right? Jean, Terry and Brett all correctly identified the aircraft as a Kyushu Q1W "Tokai" (Lorna).

Nevertheless, there are some clear and confusing differences, like the bulging things on the nose side and, if the cockpit photo belongs to the same aircraft, the weird canopy frame.

After further research, I was able to identify this (or these) aircraft specifically as Kyushu Q1W1-K, "Lorna" trainer(s). Kevin Bade and Richard were the first to correctly and fully identify the aircraft and cockpit in the photos.
I searched in all my usual Japanese sources for photos of this "Tokai" version and I was able to find only two photos in the old "Japanese Military Aircraft Illustrated Vol.3 - Reconnaissance/Flying-Boat/Trainer/Transport" Bunrin-do, 1983. Here's one that showcases the bulges and the metal frame, about which Richard said: "Apparently, it was used as a guide to help keep the aircraft level during take-off and landings."

But how many of these were built? 
Francillon says: "the Q1W1-K Tokai Ren (Eastern Sea Trainer), of which only one prototype was completed, was an all-wood four-seat version intended for training of operators of electronic equipment."

Encyclopedia Vol.8, adds that the all-wood trainer was officially adopted in July 1945 and that only one example was built by Kyushu before the war ended.
The aircraft in the photos do not look very "all-wood" to me and if there is a second "Lorna" trainer in the quiz photo, it does not add up with the story.

Actually, Akimoto in his "All the Regular" IJNAF book, has even more, very interesting information that clears the air: 
"(The Q1W) was officially adopted in January 1945, and equipped with a 7.7mm machine gun (Prototype Tokai), received the name Model 11 (Q1W1). The version of the aircraft equipped with 20mm cannon (Prototype Tokai Ko), was named Model 11 Ko (Q1W1a). In February 1945, the Navy ordered the beginning of the mass production of the type.
Around that time, in order to train crews for the "Ginga"[!!!], two "Tokai" were modified as trainers with twin controls, and were named "Prototype Tokai Trainer" (Q1W1-K). Prototypes #1 and #2 were completed and tested, and in July 1945 the new model was officially adopted.
Before that, in April 1945, the Navy ordered the development of an all-wood trainer version, called "Prototype Tokai-kai Trainer". The design of the project was undertaken by Kyushu and production was given to "Kurashiki Koku Kako" (Kurashiki Aviation Chemical Co., Ltd.; present-day Kuraray. Also built a number of "Shiragiku"). The main and tail wings as well as the rear fuselage were all made of wood, but the war ended when strength tests had been completed."            

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