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History

Assembled as C/n 16336 at Kawasaki's Kagamigahara factory in the last week of June 1945 as a Ki-100-I Otsu. Initially sent to the Kagamigahara Army Depot and accepted into the JAAF service during the first two weeks of July 1945.

Originally thought to have been captured by American forces occupying Japan from 28th August -the origin and early history of the Museum's aircraft was unclear for many years, although the US military authorities did allocate a number of aircraft surrendered in Japan for RAF use in October/November 1945. However, research by Giuseppe Picarella[1] seems to have confirmed this airframe's true origins. It appears to have been one of the 24 aircraft found at Tan Son Nhut (Saigon) airfield in what was then French Indo-China, and was in serviceable condition. Japanese ferry pilot Sergeant Y. Kishi was found, and during interrogation disclosed that he had delivered the aircraft by air some 2,500 miles from Japan shortly before the surrender, it being intended as a morale booster.

To permit test flying, the engine was stripped and serviced by Japanese personnel at the start of November 1945, and Kishi was chosen for the initial post overhaul test flight. After an unknown number of flights, Kishi was cleared to fly the aircraft to Bien Hoa airfield, 15 miles away, to start the flight test programme, taking off at 09.07. On the approach the undercarriage refused to lower, and he was forced to return to Tan Son Nhut and make a wheels-up landing, collapsing the oil cooler and damaging the propeller and tailwheel. The aircraft was repaired by Japanese personnel using parts scavenged from other aircraft at the airfield, including a propeller from a Ki-46-II Dinah and an oil cooler and its fairing from a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Frank’. A Ki-61 provided fuel cooler, starboard undercarriage door, wing pylons and tailwheel unit. The aircraft was repaired for ground operations only.

With repairs completed in December 1945, 16336 was possibly moved to the former Imperial Japanese Navy airstrip at Tebrau, Johore State, Malaya to join the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, southeast Asia (ATAIU-SEA) collection of Japanese aircraft which were flown in RAF markings by Japanese pilots. These flights were for the benefit of press or visiting VIPs rather than actual evaluation, possibly to confirm the airworthiness of those initially intended for shipment to Farnborough for evaluation.

16336 was probably one of the aircraft earlier selected for shipment at Tebrau by S/Ldr Prosho on 25 Mar 46 and crated by Japanese personnel supervised by No.390 MU Seletar. They were selected on behalf of Air Ministry Intelligence in association with the Ministry of Aircraft Production but of the 64 aircraft initially selected only four were allowed shipping space by the Ministry of War Transport, whose priority was the repatriation of personnel for demobilisation.

In June 1946, 16336 was one of four Japanese aircraft loaded onto a Royal Navy ship at Singapore as uncrated deck cargo for shipment back to the UK as museum items, though referred to as an ‘Oscar’ in AHB correspondence of the time. The others were the A6M5 'Zeke' now displayed as a cockpit section at the Imperial War Museum, a Kyushu K9W 'Cypress' biplane trainer burnt at RAF Wroughton ca.1957, and the Mitsubishi Ki-46-III ‘Dinah’ also now at RAFM Cosford.

On 24 August 1946, the ship arrived at Portsmouth. Probably the aircraft transferred to No.47 MU Sealand, near Liverpool for crating and storage and recorded there as being an ‘Oscar II’ in Feb 1947 which type -the Nakajima Ki-43- was broadly similar in layout.

In February 1948, 16336 was listed at the German Air Force Equipment Centre at RAF Stanmore Park, Middlesex. By 1954 it was still listed by the Air Historical Branch as being an ‘Oscar’ in the list of Air Historical Branch aircraft published in the Nov 54 edition of Air Pictorial.

In Late 1955 16336 was passed to No 15 MU RAF Wroughton, Wiltshire, for storage alongside other Air Historical Branch (AHB) airframes. Still officially listed as an Oscar II at this time.

During Mid 1958 16336, along with the rest of the Air Historical Branch collection, was moved to storage at RAF Fulbeck, Lincolnshire.

In June 1960 16336, while still being crated, was delivered to RAF Colerne, Wiltshire where it was rebuilt, correctly identified as a Kawasaki Ki-100 and repainted dark green overall along with the Air Historical Branch’s Junkers Ju 88, only to be misidentified as a Nakajima Ki-44 ‘Tojo’ by Air Britain.[2]

Displayed restored at RAF Biggin Hill, Kent in September 1960, the aircraft was photographed in static park at RAF Finningley the following September.[3] Moved to RAF Cosford, Shropshire, joining a small collection of Air Historical Branch aircraft there by March of that year.[4]

In September 1962 the aircraft was displayed at the Battle of Britain open day at RAF Ternhill, Shropshire.[5][6]

During 1963/1964 16336 was repainted at RAF Cosford in a glossy version of its original factory scheme.[7][8]

During September 1968 16336 was displayed at RAF Gaydon, Warwick Battle of Britain Day event alongside Cosford's Messerschmitt Me 410 and Gloster Meteor prototype.[9] 16336 carried a newly applied 244th Sentai colour scheme of pale green overall with dark green splotches over, with a blood red fin and rudder with white lightning flash motif and two yellow stars superimposed upon it, plus 10 victory silhouettes in white beneath the port side cockpit canopy and code ‘24’ on the undercarriage legs.[10][11]

20 September 1969 Again displayed at Gaydon's Battle of Britain Airshow on 20 September 1969, followed by an apperance on 19 February 1970 at RAF Finningley's Battle of Britain display.

During 1972 16336 was repainted dark green overall, with markings representing the colours of the 5th Sentai (Fighter Regiment) based at Chofu near Tokyo or Yakkaichi in defence of the Japanese home islands, coded ‘24’ on the rudder.[12] About this refurbishment was reported :‘The aircraft is said to be in sufficiently good condition to be made airworthy’[13]

Allotted RAF Maintenance serial 8476M on 13 February 1976, 16336 joined the regional aircraft collection held at RAF St Athan on 13 November 1985.

In 1986, the Mitsubishi Kinsei 62 radial engine was restored to ground running conditions at RAF St Athan.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] The aircraft, the only known complete survivor of its type (although a few small Ki-100 components are exhibited in Japan) was visited in 1987 by its 82-year-old designer, Mr Takeo Doi. The engine was run up on approximately 40 occasions whilst at St. Athan. W/Cmdr Paul Brindley, Officer in charge of the Historic Aircraft Collection, worked on the aircraft in his spare time with particular attention needed by the fuel injection system.[21]

Circa March 1989 16336 returned to the Aerospace Museum at RAF Cosford following the closure and dispersal of the St.Athan regional collection.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

In 1992 the airframe was stripped down to bare metal at Cosford, revealing several original stencil markings, which were traced and kept for future reference.[28] Repainted once again -its seventh paint scheme since construction.[1]

On 11 November 2003 16336 was transferred by road to RAF Museum Hendon for display in new Milestones of Flight Building, following refurbishment and repainting by RAFM staff at MBCC Cosford.[29][30][1][31]

On 28 September 2011 16336 was moved by road to RAFM Cosford for initial storage (dismantled in the MBCC),[32] and future display.[33] before being placed on public display at RAFM Cosford on 30 January 2012.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aeroplane, February 2006, pp.70–75.
  2. Air Britain Digest, August 1960, p.93.
  3. Aeromilitaria, Spring 1999, Colour Photo back page.
  4. Air Britain Digest, August 1962, p.98.
  5. Flight International, 15 November 1962, p.797
  6. Aeroplane, February 2006, p.71.
  7. Sekai No Kesakuki (Famous Aircraft of the World), No.36, April 1973, p.74.
  8. Flying Review International, November 1963, p.57.
  9. Control Column, November 1968, Photo p.5.
  10. Sekai No Kesakuki (Famous Aircraft of the World), No.36, April 1973, colour photos pp.34-35.
  11. Aeroplane, February 2006, B/W photo p.72.
  12. Aeroplane, February 2006, p.72.(Photo)
  13. Control Column, October 1972, p.152.
  14. Flypast, September 1986, Photos p.43
  15. Aeroplane Monthly, April 1988, p.184
  16. Aeroplane Monthly, February 1989, p.69
  17. Flypast, December 1991, p.23
  18. Wrecks and Relics, 11th Edition, p.186
  19. Famous Airplanes of the World, No 23, July 1990 (X003-2414)
  20. Aeroplane, February 2006, p.73
  21. Flypast, December 1987, p.65.
  22. Butler, Phil. War Prizes: An Illustrated Survey of German, Italian and Japanese Aircraft Brought to Allied Countries During and After the Second World War. Midland Counties Publications, 1994. ISBN 0904597865. p.153.
  23. Broken Wings of The Samurai (028008), p.174.
  24. Aeroplane Monthly Museums Guide 1992, p.3.
  25. Flypast, June 1998, p.28.
  26. Supplement to Aeroplane, April 2000, p.43.
  27. Butler, Phil. War Prizes – The Album. Midland Publications Ltd, 2007. ISBN 1857802446. p.117.
  28. Aeroplane, February 2006, p.73.
  29. Royal Air Force Museum Newsletter, Autumn/Winter 2003.
  30. Wingspan International 20, p.64
  31. Picarella, Giuseppe. Aero Detail 32 – J.I.A Fighter Kawasaki Ki-100 Tokio: Bunrin-do, 2010.
  32. Aircraft Magazine, December 2011, photo p.11
  33. Flypast, March 2012, Photo p.129.
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