You just can't get enough of this aircraft, the only operational, original WWII Japanese aircraft in the world today ! This is the ONLY WWII Japanese aircraft that is flyable today with an original Japanese WWII engine, the Mitsubishi Sakae 14-cylinder, Model Ha-35 "Prosperity". A very, very unique and historic sound ! This is the sound of history and it is very likely that this is the ONLY original WWII Japanese aircraft engine that any of us will ever to be able to hear in person. Of course, this A6M5 Zero is owned by the Planes of Fame Museum located in Chino, California. In the late 1970s, this aircraft was restored to flying staus. The engine was restored by the Stewart-Davis Company in Long Beach, California. Stewart-Davis (no longer in business) had a very good reputation for rebuilding radial engines and, according to Ed Maloney (the founder of the Planes of Fame Museum), Stewart-Davis took on the challenge of rebuilding this essentially one-of-a-kind engine and delivered a zero-time powerplant with no issues at all. Over 30 years later, this engine (on the original rebuild) is still going strong.
This aircraft was built by Nakajima under license from Mitsubishi in May 1943 and was later captured by US Marines on Saipan in June 1944. It was then shipped to Patuxent River, Maryland in the US for evaluation. About 190 hours of flight time were logged during this evaluation, including some hours by Charles Lindbergh himself. After being declared surplus following the war, this aircraft was obtained by Ed Maloney in 1950.
Following completion of the restoration in the late 1970s, a Japanese committee made an invitation to bring the Zero over to Japan to participate in several demonstrations and airshows. This was the first time a Zero had flown over Japan since WWII. The Planes of Fame Museum offers a DVD of this Zero's restoration, test flights and trip to Japan on their website. It is entitled "Zero Fighter Flies Over Japan." A very, very interesting video. I have my own copy, of course! This exact aircraft is also the subject of the "Roaring Glory" A6M5 Zero DVD, also available on the Planes of Fame Museum website. Both of these DVDs are really "must see" items for WWII aircraft enthusiasts!