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This aircraft was a hybrid assembled by Allied personnel from the wreckage of at least three Zeros captured at Buna Airfield during late December 1942 to early January 1943. The captured Zeros were loaded aboard a barge and shipped to Brisbane then transported to Eagle Farm Field.
At Eagle Farm Airfield, this Zero was reconstructed from parts of at least three Zeros recovered from Buna Airfield including: the engine from A6M3 Zero 3028, the main fuselage and wings from A6M3 Zero 3030 and the rear fuselage and other components from A6M3 Zero 3032. Additional parts were used from other Zero wreckage captured at Buna Airfield. At least one external drop tank was repaired and available for testing purposes.
With the aid a Japanese Prisoner Of War (POW) who was a Zero pilot (likely Sea1c Katsuro Nagatomo) a cockpit check list was created with the aid of an interpreter.
At one time, it appeared to be painted overall gray. Later was painted with U.S. star and bar markings on the fuselage and wings. This aircraft was possibly designated ATIU tail code XJ00.
On July 20, 1943 the rebuilt Zero took off piloted by test pilot Captain William O. Farrior on its first test flight for 30 minutes. No problems were encountered and no major adjustments were needed except for some trim adjustments.
On July 21, 1943 the rebuilt Zero took off piloted by Captain William O. Farrior on its second test flight on another 30 minute test flight, but the engine cut out due to carburettor problems forcing him to make a dead stick landing. Afterwards, the right landing gear was repaired, but this Zero still had a tendency to ground loop, but this time in the opposite direction, so a tail wheel lock was installed to fix the problem. The brakes proved to be very inferior despite numerous relining, adjustment and checking of the system. As a result, all pilots were ordered not to use the brakes except during an extreme emergency.
After the repairs, test pilot Captain William O. Farrior made additional flights in this aircraft on July 27, 1943 for 40 minutes, August 6 for 2.3 hours, August 10 for one hour, August 11 for 30 minutes, August 13 for 1 hour 5 minutes, August 21, 1943 for 2.5 hours, August 23, for 2.5 hours. On September 1, flown for 1.3 hours, September 2 for 2.1 hours and September 8 for 4.5 hours. in total, he flew this Zero for 20 hours and 45 minutes.
Later, this aircraft was disassembled and shipped to the United States for further testing by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) at Wright Field and later Eglin Field. In the United States tail code EB-201 was painted on black on both sides of the tail.
Richard Dunn adds:
"Hamp EB-201 arrived at Wright Field with 69 hours and had flown 22 hours since arrived (91 total). A later report (29 April 1944) from Eglin Field shows they were attempting to fly the HAMP against the P-47 for comparison. However, scored piston walls, bent plugs indicated a new engine was needed. A 10 May 44 report says new cylinders and pistons installed but they were encountering trouble with the prop governor. The last data I have indicates they were still working on the a/c on 13 May 44."
The ultimate fate of this Zero is unknown. Likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared at the end of the war or after testing was completed.
Individual Flight Record of Captain William Owen Farrior July 1943 via Owen Farrior (son)
Hand written flight records of Captain William Owen Farrior flying captured Japanese aircraft via Owen Farrior (son)
Oz@War "Crash Landing of a Type 0, Mk 2 SSF "Hap" (Zero) Japanese Fighter Aircraft at Eagle Farm Airfield Brisbane, QLD on 21 July 1943"
Thanks to Richard Dunn and Peter Dunn for additional information
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