Sunday, 26 February 2012

Tachikawa 92 - Japanese experimental transport aircraft, (Picarella, Stratus)



Spent yesterday afternoon browsing this utterly fascinating and absorbing new 250-page A-4 hardback book from Stratus/MMP. Giuseppe 'Joe' Picarella, a technical artist on the staff of Flight International and consultant to the RAF Museum (Hendon), has assembled this fine survey of a little known area of aviation knowledge - Japanese transports and operations during the Pacific War.

My interest in Japanese aircraft of the Pacific War was fueled back in the early 1970's by a library copy of René J. Francillon's ground-breaking Putnam "Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War". But as Francillon himself admits in the Foreword to Giuseppe Picarella's new work on Japanese Transports published by Stratus, his reputation has long since been usurped in this field by the work of researchers like Picarella. Indeed Picarella's new work contains information and photos of types that Francillon had no idea even existed, such as the Tachikawa 92, a developmental transport type aimed more or less squarely at the post-war civil market of which one prototype was constructed.

The book is divided into a number of chapters such as Army and Navy transport aircraft, paratroops and special forces and assault and transport gliders. Chapter 4, of 25 pages, covers Army transports and includes details of types such as the Tachikawa Ki-77 & Ki-74, a lovely section on the Ki-92 as well as the Mitsubishi Ki-97, Kokusai Ki-105 "Otori", Tachikawa Ki-110, Kokusai Ki-111, Tachikawa Ki-114 and Ki-120.  Chapter 5 deals with the navy experimental transports, specifically the Nippi L7P1, Kawanishi H11K1-L "Soku", Kawanishi K-60, K-120, K-200 and Showa L2D5.

These two chapters are the heart of the work and the sections I found most fascinating. They include the best ever coverage of and photographic material devoted to the Tachikawa Ki-92 and this type has pride of place on the book jacket/cover. The research on and the hunt for photographs of the Tachikawa 92 is ably recounted. The image posted fom a vet's album on flikr.com below is just one of the four or five of this type that appear in the book - and no longer the only photo of this type known a claimed all over the net!

My copy was a slightly damaged example from the amazon warehouse and was a steal at just £13 - normal RRP is a still-pretty-reasonable £29, although amazon.co.uk have it on offer currently at just £19..

Tachikawa Ki-92

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