The Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero, Type 0 Model 22, that was found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea and later was restored to airworthiness by the U.S. collector, and current owner Masahide Ishizuka, who bought the plane in 2008, is being prepared to once again take to the skies of Japan to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II.
The Zero fighter plane is found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea (Via ajw.asahi.com, provided by Masahide Ishizuka)
If the plane is cleared, it will be the first time a Zero will fly through Japan’s air space since the war. Currently displayed at the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture, it has been reassembled and its engine tested on July 7 with help from U.S. Federal Aviation Administration engineers, The Japan Times, reports.
Masahide Ishizuka sits in the cockpit of his World War II-era Zero fighter plane at the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture on July 7 (Via The Japan Times)
This aviation historic heritage of WWII has overcome a number of obstacles to fly in the skies of Japan, among these, to be registered with the aviation authority, prove that it is structurally sound, meet current safety regulations set by the Civil Aviation Bureau of Japan and have a pilot with sufficient knowledge and skills to control that particular plane. The high maintenance costs have been considered too, because to keep the Zero airworthy costs about 30 million yen annually.
The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work (Via ajw.asahi.com, provided by Masahide Ishizuka)
The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nakajima Aircraft. Japan produced about 10,000 carrier-based Zero fighter aircraft during World War II. In the early stages of the war, the Zero was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, and gained a reputation as a fearsome dogfighter with its slick maneuverability, long-distance range and high speed--three important attributes of fighter aircraft. More than 400 Zero fighters were active in the Pacific and played a significant role in Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea is finally restored to airworthiness (Via ajw.asahi.com, provided by Masahide Ishizuka)