Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Replica Zero Makes Appearance at Planes of Fame Air Show

This last weekend of May 6-7th 2017 saw the 60th anniversary of the Planes of Fame Air Show. It is one of the premiere vintage war bird airshows in the world. It is one of the only airshows where you can see up to two Japanese A6M Riesen Zero fighter planes that actually fly including one that is 100% original complete with its Sakae 12 engine. But this year saw the addition of a 3rd Zero that for reasons not stated did not fly.
This particular A6M3 Model 22 Zero is somewhat of a curiosity. It's tail code is A1-112. This plane was last seen flying over Kumamoto Japan to help uplift the spirits there after the recent natural disaster there.
There was no sign or any owner present that could tell us anything about this plane except for this small flyer written in Kanji taped to one of the propeller blades so we did some research. 
According to the Pacific Wrecks website, they noted that there have been some false claims including having been recovered from a wreck in Papua New Guinea in the late 1980's and another stating it had been built by Mitsubishi in 1943. But it turns out this was one of three replica Zeros that were built in Russia during the 1990's for the Santa Monica Museum of Flight. 
So as the story goes, this replica Zero which is powered by a Pratt & Whitney engine was constructed for around $300,000.00 USD. Mind you, that's 1990's money. She was last sold for $1.9 million USD. It is currently under private ownership and is said to be based in Mojave California.
While it is not a true original, it still retains the aesthetic of Jiro Hirokoshi's vision and remains a delight for Zero fans world wide despite not having it's familiar yellow stripe painted on it's forward on its wing.
We hope to see her fly in formation with her two original older cousins at a future.
Until then please enjoy this footage we found of this plane flying in Japan.

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