Built by Nakajima in May 1945. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as A6M7 Model 62 Zero manufacture number
Assigned to the 210 Kōkūtai. Tail code 210-118 B.
On August 9, 1945 took off from Meiji Airfield piloted by Lt. Tsuneo Azuma on a test flight and suffered an oil leak that required him to ditch into Lake Biwa. During the landing, Azuma was unhurt and returned to duty afterwards.
Doug Vernon adds:
“I have information regarding the pilot who made the forced landing on the Lake Biwa. This information comes from a friend of mine, who is connected with the Zero Pilots Association. The man who made the forced landing is General Tsuneo Azuma, now retired from the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF). At the time of the forced landing on August 9, 1945, Azuma was a Lt. in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and during that same year was appointed to a post of flight platoon leader. One of his official duties was to test fly Zeros following repairs. While carrying out his duties, he flew many different models of the Zero-sen, including the A6M2-21, A6M3-22, A6M3-32, A6M5-52 and A6M7-63. These duties were carried out at the Meiji Naval Air Base in Aichi prefecture. Azuma was involved in four forced landings while assigned to his testing tasks; the last being the one which took place at Lake Biwa. According to him, all four mishaps were the results of faulty oil systems. He praises the A6M7-63 in all areas except for the plane's lubrication.
In 1976, this Zero was discovered in Lake Biwa and recovered by the curator of the Arashiyama Museum.
Afterwards, restored to static condition and painted with green upper surfaces and a black engine cowling with tail code 210-118 B painted in yelow on both sides of the tail.
Displayed at Arashiyama Museum until 1991 when the museum closed. Afterwards. displayed at the the Zero-Park Shirahama
in Wakayama City. Today, at the Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum) in Kure.
Jim Long adds: "At least one other source says [this Zero] was an A6M5c, but I prefer to think that it was an A6M7 because it has the bomb rack of the fighter-bomber."
Thanks to Jim Long and Warren Sessler for additional information
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October 23, 2019