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History[]

Built by Nakajima during January 1944 with uncoded serial number 1430. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as an Army Type 1 Fighter Ki-43-II-Otsu 'Hayabusa' (Ki-43-IIb Oscar) with manufacture number 6430. This aircraft was assigned to an as yet unknown Sentai. Painted overall green with an unidentified motif on the tail, this Ki-43-II Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) operated from the Hollandia area.[1]

In Allied hands[]

During late April 1944, this Ki-43 Hayabusa Oscar was captured by the US Army in the Hollandia area at one of the three Hollandia dromes: Hollandia Airfield, Sentani Airfield or Cyclops Airfield. Afterwards, inspected by the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit TAIU-SWPA. During the middle of 1944, this Ki-43 Hayabusa (also known as Hollandia Oscar #2), Ki-43-II Oscar C/n 5894 and Ki-61 Hien (Tony) (likely XJ002) were repaired at Cyclops Airfield by American personnel from the US Army Air Force 84th Airdrome Squadron. The line chief for both rebuilds was S/Sgt William Garza, who was assisted by S/Sgt Hall. Both Oscars were repaired using spare parts found in the area and parts from other Oscars. This Oscar was stripped to bare aluminum finish and painted with US star-and-bar markings and a red and white tail rudder. The cowl had a circular motif with "84" for the 84th Airdrome Squadron painted on both sides. This Oscar received a modified flat sided movable canopy similar to that fitted to the Ki-43-I. Presumably the canopy was obtained from a model 1 and modified to fit the front fixed section of the Ki-43-II canopy. By September 1944, this Oscar was test flown in the Hollandia area.[2]

To the USA[]

Later, this Oscar and a Ki-46 'Dinah' TAIC 10 were loaded aboard the escort carrier USS Attu and transported to the United States for technical evaluation, accompanied by S/Sgt Hall. Received by (TAIC), it was designated "10" stenciled on the tail with "Technical Air Intelligence Center" on the right side of the cockpit and "Oscar 2" on the right side of the nose cowling. The plane was identified by the Wright Field technical intelligence unit as FE-6430 (later T2-6430), but they thought the number not to be the original Japanese manufacture number as they were confused about the various parts with different manufacture numbers. The pilot seat of C/n 6430 even appeared to be that of C/n 5894, the 'other' Oscar (Hollandia Oscar #1), that had suffered landing gear problems upon landing after its maiden test flight.

Museum Display[]

After the war this aircraft was moved into storage at Park Ridge, Illinois during the later half of 1947 until 1950. From 1950 until 1957 it stood displayed at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. In 1958 it was donated to National Air & Space Museum (NASM) and was refurbished by the Wisconsin Air National Guard, painted in the markings of the Sentai Hombu (Headquarter Unit) of the 63rd Sentai with 13 on the tail and a white fuselage band. (The 63rd Sentai was one of four Sentai flying Oscars at Hollandia). Today it is displayed at the Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson, Arizona, after having been loant to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington (2004-2008) and formerly at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and before that at the EAA Museum in Hales Corner, Wisconsin (1970-2003).[3]

References[]

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