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Power Program  1998
55 minute video
multi-angle segments
pilot's operating manual
still & WWII photos
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Language: English

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Roaring Glory A6M5 Zero
Vol. 6 A6M5 Zero

Nothing could match the power, speed, range or handling of the Japanese A6M5 Zero fighter at the start of World War II. This DVD features the only authentic flyable Zero remaining in the world, in flight and on the ground. It is crammed with bonus material and supplemental materials that fully utulize the audio and special capabilities of the DVD medium.

The featured A6M5 Zero was captured June 1944 on Saipan and was formally a member of the 261st Naval Air Corps. Transported back to the United States, it was evaluated for flight performance, where experts like Charles Lindberberg flew the plane as a representative for United Aircraft Corporation. It is now owned by the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino California who have restored it to flight. It took five years to restore and today is the only original example left flying.

Walkaround the A6M5
The disc begins with a walkaround of the Zero on the ground with host and pilot, Steve Hinton. Aspects of the plane's engineering and the stories behind them are highlighted, such as the exterior landing gear indicator that sticks out above the wing wing so the pilot could see the position of the landing gear. The down lock assembly is an exact copy of Douglas SBD landing gear, copied in the A6M. The counterweighted propeller design was purchased under licence from Hamilton Standard. It was the first aircraft credited with using wing spars that provide high strength, but were constructed of light weight aluminum. The tail markings are that of the 261st Kokutai and read "1-20" 1 for fighter, 20th plane in squadron.

The Zero was the first Japanese plane with fully enclosed cockpit. It consumes 131 octane fuel, and has a low oil consumption. This late Zero model had fire suppressant CO2 charges into the 65 gallon fuel tanks if hit - in an attempt to remedy one of the fighter's weakness - unarmed fuel tanks. The armament machine gun and cannons were triggered on the throttle, not the control column like in Allied fighters. Cocking lever for the forward 7.7mm machine guns were accessible from the inside the cockpit. The instrument layout was simple: flight instruments on left, engine instruments on right. The fact that the Zero was capable of flying at low power settings extended its range dramatically. Consumes fuel of 50 - 20 gallons an hour. At 170 knots, the rate is 40 gallons an hour.

Modern medications to the plane include American airspeed and altitude indicators, versus the metric ones originally used in the plane, and a more modern rudder assembly to replace the original simple bar and pedal configuration. And, combat configurations like the engine water injection are no longer used.

Zero In Flight
The viewer accompanied the A6M5 Zero during engine start, warm up, taxing and take off - including commentary from the pilot about all throttle settings, oil temperatures and settings. The amazing Dolby surround sound allows the viewer to hear the 1,130 hp Sakae 14-cylinder, two-row radial engine and even today marvel at the nimble flight characteristics of this nimble warbird in flight. The viewer watches from a side chase plane as Hinton performs loops, overhead flight, rolls aerobatics and gets the opportuntiy to enjoy the sounds of this warbird in flight.

Multianges Section
This product fully utilizes the DVD medium, with an impressive multiangle section, that allows the viewer to watch the A6M5 taking off, aproaching, and landing from three different viewpoints in real time. The viewer can decide where to watch the action - from an exterior chase plane to the side, from inside the cockpit with host Steve Hinton or looking over top the engine cowl, in the same position as the gunsight.

Interview with Mike Kwato
English language interview with former Japanese fighter pilot, Mike Kwato who now lives in the United States and claims 19 victories, including being shot down five times. Kwato recalls the rigorous navy training, beginning in a glider for 10-15 hours before moving to the type 93 trainer the next, type 96 fighter. In addition, he learned maintenance including how to tear down and rebuilt a radial engine. He speaks about the limitations of the Zero. How it could not effectively fly above 25,000 feet, and American Aircraft he flew against like the Corsair and P-38 Lightning.

Kwato recounts his mission on January 3, 1944 when at 15,000 feet when they encountered Corsairs, and reportedly shot down Pappy Boyington over Rabaul. He recalls the kill, how he observed 20mm cannon hits on the cockpit and right side, causing the plane to smoke and at 1,000 feet before the pilot bailed out as the plane hit the ocean. Kwato speaks about his post war meeting with famed ace, Pappy Boyington, who told him "we are no longer enemies"

Mike Kwato's exploits in the "The Young Pilots" section with narration and reenactment of the servicing of the Zero. Included are his background as a volunteered in 1941, at age 16 and completion of training before being assigned to the 253rd Kokutai to Rabaul for combat.

Special Features
The DVD includes the news reel footage of "Zero Goes to Japan" when the restored A6M5 Zero Fighter flew to Japan in the late 1970's, the first time a Zero flew in Japanese skies since WWII. This film give the view a chance to also see the restoration of the aircraft, and it various paint schemes and transport and reception in Japan.

Several photo sections allows the viewer to preview still images in a "Family Album" section and "Zero" that contain dozens of images. For viewers with DVD players in their computer, there is an 18 page pilots handbook PDF file that covers preflight procedures, take off, flight, landing. The disc also includes previews of other Roaring Glory warlord DVDs. Included are trailers for their F4U, TBM, P-38, P-47, F6F each is about two minutes long and introduces other warbirds in the "Roaring Glory" series.

Review by  Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019

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