One of Mitsubishi’s legendary World War II fighter planes took to the skies over Japan on Wednesday.
The restored “Zero” fighter made a brief flight to and from a naval base in southern Japan. Decorated former U.S. Air Force pilot Skip Holm flew the aircraft.
Zero fighters were considered one of the most capable fighter planes in World War II, rivaling the British Spitfire. Their long range allowed them to play a prominent role in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Only a few are still in operating condition.
While rented Zeroes have flown in Japan on occasion in the past, this was the first for the widely used Model 22 of Mitsubishi’s A6M fighter with its round wingtips.
This particular plane was found decaying in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. It was owned by an American until Japanese businessman Masahiro Ishizuka purchased it and brought it to Japan last September.
“I wanted for the people of Japan and especially young people to know about this Zero airplane, as well as those who are old who remember the past,” Ishizuka said. “Each of them should have different thoughts and perspectives on this, but I just want people to know how Japan has developed its technology.” Read more