Planes of Fame to Showcase Notable Mitsubishi Zero

Planes of Fame is getting ready for its monthly Living History Flying Day, this time featuring the Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero. POF’s A6M5 is the only original model of its kind that is still flying. And this particular airplane has an extraordinary history behind it.

Planes of Fame’s Zero is powered by a 1,200 hp Nakajima Sakae 31 engine, the one originally installed in the airplane. Built in 1943, the airplane was assigned to the Japanese Naval Air Corps, but it was seized by the U.S. military in 1944 and brought to NAS North Island in San Diego, California, along with about a dozen other Zeros. This particular airplane was then shipped to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, where several navy pilots, including none other than Charles A. Lindbergh, flew it to learn about the enemy’s machine.

POF’s Living History Flying Days take place on the first Saturday of each month and showcase a rare airplane from museum’s vast collection. Not only will visitors have a chance to take a close look at the airplane and see it fly, the museum also brings in speakers, such as pilots, historians, authors and often people who have experience flying the airplane for the missions it was intended. The A6M5 Zero event will take place this Saturday, December 1, from 10 am to noon at the museum, which is based at the Chino Airport (CNO) in Chino, California.

One of the speakers for this Saturday’s event is Dr. Rob Hoffman, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Hoffman’s discussion on the Zero is based on personal experience and accounts from others along with photos to illustrate how the Japanese were able to achieve success with this remarkable airplane. His speech is titled Lucky Lady Lou, based on an A6M with that name.

Also presenting is moderator, historian and modeler Kevin Thompson, who will provide an overview of Japanese aircraft from World War II.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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