Built by Mitsubishi, estimated date of assembly May 1943. Assigned to 252 Kokutai with tail code Y2-176.
Abandoned at Taroa Airfield.
Until 1991, remained 'in situ' at the airfield.
Stan Gajda adds:
"Y2-176 was sitting on its
belly and the port center fuselage had been hacked right
out, this appearing to be to provide access to the interior
for pillagers. When I saw it in 1988 it looked a lot better
but you will see that the wings were already in bad shape. This aircraft bears extensive evidence
of a lot of combat with many field patches both large
and small all over the airframe. All aircraft in this
area have had engines removed although there are many
engines scattered about most with propellers still attached."
Recovered by John
Sterling, in the 1990s. After a
year of negotiation, including sleeping in the jungle for nearly
3 months to perform the recovery of this and other Zeros: A6M3
3148 and A6M2 31574 that were disassembled,
crated and shipped back to his home in Boise, Idaho in May 1991. He
focused his efforts on restoring A6M3 Zero 3148 and using parts from the others
to support this single project.
During 2000, acquired by the Imperial War
Museum (IWM) at Duxford. There were no plans to restore the aircraft
at this stage, and it has been proposed to display it 'as is'. This Zero remained in storage until at least 2010. Today, displayed at Imperial War
Asahi Journal Vol 1 No 2 has an interview with John Sterling
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November 9, 2019