Monday, February 7, 2011

Finding the Ki 27 Nate survivor

I like the rare-to-unique survivors, but occasionally I find a reference to something I'd not even realised was out there.

Thanks to Joe May's blog Travel For Aircraft, we can see Joe's shots of the sole complete survivor of this machine, the Nakajima Ki 27 'Nate' here as it is on display today in Japan.

Photo by Joe May, from the blog Travel For Aircraft. Reproduced with acknowledgment.

Joe explains:
Toward the end of WW II Japan was preparing for the invasion of the home islands and pressed any and all equipment, as well as citizenry, into service. That is why there is one Nate left out of the more than 4000 that were built. It was transferred from Manchuria to Japan after Okinawa has been invaded and was to be used by its pilot in a kamikaze attack. While on its ferry flight, as it was approaching Fukuoka Japan the engine failed and the pilot made a forced landing into Fukuoka Bay. The pilot survived the ditching and the aircraft lay on the bay bottom for decades. A private effort launched a recovery effort and the airplane is now on display in the Tachiarai Peace Museum 大刀洗平和記念館 — Tachiarai Japan.
He adds:
It is one of my favorite exhibits I’ve seen out of all that I have seen. This rare aircraft is not restored to an original pristine condition, instead it has been restored to a usable looking condition.
It's on my list to see too, now.

There's a history of the Ki 27 on the Wiki page here. According to the invaluable Warbirds Directory, there are two survivors, the other being a 'derelict' wreck in the Royal Thai Air Force Museum, Bangkok, Thailand. (No i.d. is offered for either aircraft, interestingly.)

Aircraft from the late 1930s are particularly rare as they were developed in an era of rapid change (and obsolescence) and also most were consumed by the following world war. In military terms they are also the last generation of machines that seem comprehensible to the interested layperson, and have a broad similarity to modern sportsplanes or races from their own era.

A big thank you to Joe for sharing his travels, and his blog is therefore also highly recommended, of course!

1 comment:

  1. The wreck in Thailand was found under water and is quite corroded. It included only the engine and wing center section.