Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Warbird Flies Again

I don't like war.  I have no illusions about the nobility of it, and I feel that it is usually started over money or access to things that make money by people who care little or nothing about the soldiers and civilians who suffer terror, torture, maiming and death as a result.

But the Zero fighter plane was a remarkable aircraft.



Zero fighter takes first flight over Japan since WWII

The Japan Times  AP  Jan 27, 2016

KANOYA, KAGOSHIMA PREF. – One of Mitsubishi’s legendary Zero fighters took to the skies over Japan on Wednesday for the first time since World War II.

The restored plane made a brief flight from a naval base in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture. Decorated former U.S. Air Force pilot Skip Holm flew the aircraft.

Zero fighters were considered one of the most capable long-range fighter planes in World War II, rivaling the British Spitfire.


Only a handful remain in operating condition.
This particular plane was found decaying in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. It was owned by an American until Japanese businessman Masahiro Ishizuka purchased it and brought it to Japan last September.

“I wanted for the people of Japan and especially young people to know about this Zero airplane, as well as those who are old who remember the past,” Ishizuka said. “Each of them should have different thoughts and perspectives on this, but I just want people to know how Japan has developed its technology.”

Japanese see the aircraft both as a symbol of their country’s technological advance and a reminder of the harrowing history of the war. In the last phase of the fighting, they were used for kamikaze attacks.



The airfield used for Wednesday’s flight, Kanoya Naval Air Base, was the point of departure for some kamikaze pilots during the war.

Under its previous American owner, the plane made an appearance in the Hollywood movie “Pearl Harbor” and at various events in the United States.

Mitsubishi's legendary Zero fighter is prepared for a test flight at an air station in Kanoya, Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. The restored plane took to the skies over Japan on Wednesday for the first time since World War II. (Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP)
Mitsubishi's legendary Zero fighter is prepared for a test flight at an air station in Kanoya, Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. The restored plane took to the skies over Japan on Wednesday for the first time since World War II. (Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP)

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-fighter-flies-japan-1st-wwii.html#jCp

Mitsubishi's legendary Zero fighter is prepared for a test flight at an air station in Kanoya, Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. The restored plane took to the skies over Japan on Wednesday for the first time since World War II. (Hiroko Harima/Kyodo News via AP)

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-fighter-flies-japan-1st-wwii.html#jCp~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
from: Wikipedia

Carrier A6M2 and A6M3 Zeros from the aircraft carrier Zuikaku preparing for a mission at Rabaul
A6M3 Model 22, flown by Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa over the Solomon Islands, 1943


The Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" is a long-range fighter aircraft, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (零式艦上戦闘機 rei-shiki-kanjō-sentōki), or the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen. The A6M was usually referred to by its pilots as the "Reisen" (zero fighter), "0" being the last digit of the Imperial year 2600 (1940) when it entered service with the Imperial Navy. The official Allied reporting name was "Zeke", although the use of the name "Zero" was later commonly adopted by the Allies as well.

When it was introduced early in World War II, the Zero was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, combining excellent maneuverability and very long range. The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service ("IJNAS") also frequently used the type as a land-based fighter.
In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation as a dogfighter, achieving the outstanding kill ratio of 12 to 1, but by mid-1942 a combination of new tactics and the introduction of better equipment enabled the Allied pilots to engage the Zero on generally equal terms.  By 1943, inherent design weaknesses and the failure to develop more powerful aircraft engines meant that the Zero became less effective against newer enemy fighters, which possessed greater firepower, armor, and speed, and approached the Zero's maneuverability. Although the Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, design delays and production difficulties of newer Japanese aircraft types meant that it continued to serve in a front line role until the end of the war. During the final years of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was also adapted for use in kamikaze operations. During the course of the war, Japan produced more Zeros than any other model of combat aircraft. 

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