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Built by Nakajima at Ota during November 1942. Uncoded serial number 650. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 1 Fighter / Ki-43 (Oscar) manufacture number 750.
Assigned to the 11th Sentai (11th Flying Regiment). Transported as cargo aboard an ship or aboard an aircraft transport from Japan to Truk then ferried to Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul.
Starting in the middle of December 1942 or early 1943, this Oscar was based at Vunakanau Airfield. Possibly, it was damaged or unservicable and never moved to Wewak.
After February 1944 when the last flyable aircraft were withdrawn, this Oscar remained in flying condition and continued to operate from Vunakanau Airfield. During 1945, this Oscar made a bad landing at Vunakanau Airfield that required an engine and propeller change. Repaired by Japanese ground crews, this Oscar was then dispersed and hidden four miles from Vunakanau Airfield as one of the few remaining aircraft in flyable condition and survived until the end of the Pacific War until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945.
In early September 1945 when Allied forces occupied the Rabaul area, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) personnel heard about an intact Japanese aircraft hidden in the jungle in the vicinity of Vunakanau Airfield and reported this rumor to Squadron Leader Denys S. Hamilton. With the help of Japanese Prisoners Of War (POW), they located and photographed the Oscar.
Later, the Oscar was disassembled by Japanese Japanese Prisoners Of War (POWs) and packed into crates for shipment to Australia as a war prize. During December 1945 arrived in Australia and transported to Richmond Airfield where it remained crated until 1949.
On July 14, 1949 accepted by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and transported to Canberra and placed into storage. In 1953, due to space constraints, sold to Mr. Bob Curtis of Sydney and transported to Sydney and placed into storage until 1962 when sold to Mr. Sid Marshall who stored it in his hanger at Bankstown Airfield. During 1980, sold to Mr. Jack Davidson who owned this Oscar until 1985. In 1985 sold to Mr. Col Pay who owned the plane until 1994. Between 1953-1985, none of these owners are known to have performed any n restoration work on this aircraft.
During the late 1980s, Col Pay began some external restoration work to this Oscar. In 1994, sold to Alpine Fighter Collection and shipped to New Zealand. Registered in New Zealand as ZK-OSC. Additional restoration work was done and by 1996, this Oscar was externally restored and painted with green upper surfaces and Japanese markings with gray lower surfaces with a tail motif and three stripes on the fuselage. At Warbirds Over Wanaka air show April 5-8, 1996, this Oscar taxied the first time.
During 1999, sold to Paul Allen / Flying Heritage Collection (FHC). Shipped to the United States. Registered with the FAA as 760N on May 12, 2004 with the owner listed as Vulcan Warbirds, Inc. Since the spring of 2004, placed on static display at the Flying Heritage Collection.
Production Record for the Type 1 Fighter (Ki-43) (Oscar) by Jim Long
Auckland War Memorial Online Cenotaph - Denys S. Hamilton, 131467
New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum - Nakajima Hayabusa Ki-43i (Oscar) via Wayback Machine My 25, 2010
RCAF War Prize Flights, German and Japanese Warbird Survivors page 208
Flying Heritage Collection - Ki-43 Oscar
FAA Registry - Aircraft N Number 750N
Thanks to Cory Graff curator Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) for additional information
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