History[edit | edit source]
Built by Nakajima at Ota during November 1942 with uncoded serial number 650 and construction number 750. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) and assigned to the 11th Sentai, 2nd Chutai. It is at present unknown whether the lightning sign of the 11th Sentai was applied to the tail of this aircraft, and if so, in the red 2nd Chutai colour.
Wartime History[edit | edit source]
This aircraft was transported as cargo aboard an ship or aboard an aircraft transport from Japan to Truk, then ferried to Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul, where it operated during late 1942 until 1945 and managed to avoid being damaged on the ground or in the air. Sometime during 1945 this aircraft made a bad landing at Vunakanau Airfield, that required an engine and propeller change. Repaired, this Oscar was carefully hidden four miles from Vunakanau Airfield as one of the few remaining aircraft.
Wreckage[edit | edit source]
When Australian forces occupied Rabaul, RAAF personnel heard rumors about an intact Japanese aircraft near Vunakanau Airfield and reported it to S/Ldr Denys Hamilton. With the help of Japanese prisoners, the aircraft was located and photographed in situ during September 1945. Later, the Oscar was disassembled by Japanese prisoners and crated. During December 1945, the War Department shipped the aircraft to Australia as a war prize. At first it remained crated and dismantled at RAAF Richmond Airfield in New South Wales. I was accepted by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) on 14 July 1949 and transported to Canberra, where it remained in storage until 1953, when it was sold due to space constraints to Mr. Bob Curtis of Sydney . Next, in 1962, it was sold to Mr. Syd Marshall, who stored the Oscar in his hanger at Bankstown Airfield. In 1980 it was sold to Mr. Jack Davidson, and it changed hands again in 1985, when it was sold to Mr. Colin Pay.
Restoration[edit | edit source]
Starting in the late 1980s, exterior restoration work was begun by Colin Pay. During 1994, the aircraft was sold to the Alpine Fighter Collection and shipped in a container to New Zealand for further restoration. By 1996, the Oscar was externally restored and capable of taxing on the ground. At the 1996 Warbirds over Wanaka Air show, the Oscar taxied for the first time since 1945 and even flew. The aircraft got registered in New Zealand as ZK-OSC.
During 1999 C/n 750 was sold to Paul Allen of the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC), and was shipped to the United States. It got registered with the FAA as 760N on 12 May 2004 with the owner listed as Vulcan Warbirds, Inc. Since the spring of 2004, it is placed on static display at the Flying Heritage Collection.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Nohara, Shigeru with Ryuichi Mochizuki and Kunio Aoi: Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar" Hayabusa / 中島一式戦闘機「隼」/ Nakajima isshiki sentōki hayabusa. Tokyo, Japan: Dai-Nippon Kaiga, 2000. ISBN 4-499-22735-6.