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  A6M2 Model 21 Zero (Reconstruction) Registration N8280K Tail A1-1-129

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J. Lansdale 2005

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R. Rocker 2005

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R. Robinson Aug 18, 2014

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A. Natal April 7, 2015

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J. Dando June 20, 2015

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J. Dando June 20, 2015

Aircraft History
In the early 1990, Blayd Corporation became involved with Robert Diemert in a potential collaboration to rebuild a A6M2 Model 21 Zeros using original Zero parts salvaged in 1968. During the deal, the Blayd Corporation purchased his remaining original parts but further collaboration ceased.

Starting in 1994, the Blayd Corporation used the original parts purchased from Robert Diemert as templates to build a reconstruction A6M2 Model 21 Zero. Known as the "Blayd Zero" they estimated 60,000 hours would be required to build a reproduction aircraft. Mitsubishi Corporation provided some original plans and Japanese engineering student to translate them. Blayd succeeded in copying roughly 14,000 parts for the fuselage, tail and wings and used an original set of landing gear legs. They manufactured enough parts for three Zeros but only one airframe was to be built.

In the early 2000s, purchased by a consortium of owners based in North Dakota and Minnesota and became known as the "Dakota Blayd Zero". The airframe was transported to Tri-State Aviation where the reconstruction was completed over a three year period with the installation of a Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial engine, instruments and hydraulics. This Zero was painted in the color scheme and markings of A6M2 Zero 6544 Tail A1-1-129 as suggested by researcher Ryan Toews.

Registered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States as N8280K, a Nakajima built A6M2 Zero Model 21 Zero serial number 1498 manufactured year 1941 [sic] with an airworthy date listed as July 28, 2004.

On July 29, 2004 this Zero reconstruction made a first flight and was initially owned by Jerry Beck / Tri-State Aviation. During 2004-2011 displayed at the Fargo Air Museum.

In early 2011 sold to Last Samurai LLC in Dover, Delaware. On March 18, 2011. Since 2011 displayed at the Texas Flying Legends Museum and flown in air shows piloted by Warren Pietsch.

During the spring of 2016, this Zero suffered an accident while on the ground piloted by Warren Pietsch when a Corsair propeller struck the rear of the Zero damaging the rear fuselage and stabilizer. Afterwards, sent to Blayd Corporation for repairs that were estimated at 5,000 hours for repairs. Instead, repaired by Air Corps Aviation and subtle corrections were made to the markings.

Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
Classic Wings Issue 65 "A Perfect Zero" pages 18-22, "Camouflage & Markings" by Ryan Toews pages 22-23
Fargo Air Museum - Legends of Aviation Historic Aircraft - Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen Type Zero Carrier-Based Fighter Model 21 via Wayback Machine July 5, 2007
FAA Registry - N8280K Nakajima A6M2 Model 21 Zero Serial Number 1498

"A Brief History of the Blayd Zero and Its Markings" by Ryan Toews June 15, 2014
YouTube "Japanese Zero flown by Warren Pietsch" November 13, 2014
Texas Flying Legends Museum | Last Samurai | A6M2 Model 21 Zero September 4, 2015
Texas Flying Legends Museum | News | The Zero is Coming Along Great! March 7, 2017
Texas Flying Legends Museum | News | Spring Update on the Zero May 5, 2017
Texas Flying Legends Museum | News | Skins on the Zero June 21, 2017
Texas Flying Legends Museum - Search Zero
AirCorps Aviation - A6M-2 Zero (photos, monthly project updates)
AirCorps Aviation - January A6M-2 Zero Update February 17, 2017
AirCorps Aviation - February A6M-2 Zero Update March 16, 2017
AirCorps Aviation - March A6M-2 Zero Update April 19, 2017
AirCorps Aviation - April/May A6M-2 Zero Update June 7, 2017
AirCorps Aviation - May/June A6M-2 Zero Update July 5, 2017
“Warbirds A Multimillion Dollar Industry Had Its Beginnings In Carman" by Matt Dedrick
Thanks to Ryan Toews and Mark Murphy for additional information

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Last Updated
November 9, 2019


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