One mythical Mitsubishi A6M 'Zero' fighter plane has taken to the skies over Japan on January 27th 2016, for the first time since WWII. The restored plane made a brief test flight to and from Kanoya Naval Air Base on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. Kamikaze pilots took off from the same airfield in the final stage of WWII agaisnt US Navy's warships. Former US Air Force pilot Skip Holm flew the aircraft. 

Zero fighters were considered one of the most capable long-range fighter planes in WWII, rivalling the British Spitfire. 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. Their long range allowed them to play a prominent role in attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. 

This particular plane was found decaying in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s and later was restored to airworthiness by the U.S. collector. It was owned by an American until Japanese businessman Masahiro Ishizuka purchased it and brought it to Japan last September. Under its previous American owner, the plane made an appearance in the Hollywood movie "Pearl Harbor" and at various events in the United States, as Associated Press reports. Only a few are still in operating condition.


Magdalena Osumi - | Shu Nomura - | | Miki Toda - Associated Press

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