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Around the world in 175 days part 15: Japan! Matsuyama, Kagoshima

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June 1, 1924.  The base at Lake Kasumigaura was a major supply point for the trip and the site where they planned to overhaul there aircraft and get them ready for flying in the tropics, Including replacing the engines and installing larger radiators.  The Japanese had planned two weeks of events, but the Lt Smith, concerned that they were at least 30 days behind schedule asked for the celebrations to be compressed to 48 hours.  A Japanese admiral hosted them to a traditional Japanese dinner, the flyers were very impressed by the geisha girls who served the meal.  After ten days of mechanics and diplomacy they were ready to leave at 5:30 am on June 1 for Kushimoto, 305 miles away in ideal weather, As they passed Iro point they plunged into a severe rain storm that became a mild typhoon, that became more severe as they landed at Kushimoto, where USS Pope was waiting for them.  A welcome party tried to come out to the ship to greet them but the weather was too rough and the flyers retired for the night on board the destroyer.

July 24, 2017: Still wanting to fly a Japanese aircraft over Japan I decided to fly the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero.  The A6M first flew in 1939 and at the time it was introduced it was considered the most capable carrier based fighter in the world with excellent maneuverability and long range, over 10,000 were built. The model I am using today was made by Aeroplane Heaven for JustFlight and I think it is the best FSX/P3D compatible Japanese aircraft model from that era available.

It was pretty overcast when I took off, I had to stay under 1500 feet for most of the flight to stay below the clouds.  I decided to fly to Nanki-Shirahama airport which is the closest airport I could find to Kushimoto.  I followed the coast for a while, climbed over one large peninsula, then weaved around the various islands as I headed toward my destination.  Then at some point I zoomed out on the GPS to see how far I had to go and realized I had made a fairly serious navigational error.  At some point in my planning process I had recorded the code for the destination airport at RJDB where I should have used RJBD and I was at this point about 140nm off course.  I could continue on to Kanoya which is the destination for the next leg, which is almost as far as going back to Kushimoto but instead headed for the closest airport which was at Matsuyama.  I had flown 405 nm in 2.6 hours, at least 100nm further than I planned.  

Here are a few pics from the flight:

Ready for takeoff.

Yes, we are ready.

Fireworks over Tokyo.  They must be celebrating our trip.

Mount Fuji showed itself.

Brief period of good weather.

Glamour Shots.

Just before I realised I was headed in the wrong direction.

Secure at Matsuyama

June 2, 1924: By morning the storm had subsided and they went ashore to meet with the leaders of the town.  They were presented with souvenirs and decorations “enough to start an Oriental museum” according to Arnold.  Some of the decorations were only given to the pilots but Lt Smith asked that they be given to all six of them since “We were simply six American airmen flying around the world together” and the Japanese agreed.  By noon they were off into a stiff head wind for the 360 mile flight to Kagoshima, the southern most city in Japan.  Along the way they flew over may steamers, junks and fishing boats.  They also flew over the destroyers Perry and Steward that were patrolling the route for them.  While flying along the coast of Kyushu island Boston’s engine began overheating so Wade landed the plane in a well protected harbor, while the other two plane circled overhead Ogden filled the radiator with salt water and the three planes continued Kagoshima where the repair ship USS Black Hawk was waiting for them.  A large crowd with at least 2000 school children were waiting for them on the beach, many waving home made flags,  The flyers went ashore briefly where a few short speeches were made and souvenirs handed out.

July 29, 2017:  For the next flight I will continue to use the JustFlight A6M2 Zero.  Because of my navigational error on the previous flight I was now in Matsuyama instead of Kushimoto and only 175 nm from Kagoshima.  Weather was better today, 12 kn winds with scattered clouds at 3000 feet.  The flight was pretty easy, I flew down the east coast of Kyushu island at about 3000 feet.  As I got closer to the haze started to build up.  I turned inland near Miyazaki where there were some heavier patches of fog to fly over/through but as I got to Kagoshima the weather cleared up and I was able to make a safe landing at Kagoshima airport despite touching down a little short of the runway.  In the fast A6M2 the flight time was only 57 minutes.

Here are a few pics from the flight.

Ready for takeoff.

Climbing out from Matsuyama airport.

Glamour shots.

Kyushu island

Getting hazy.


On final, yes I am a little low.


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Very nice shots over still a problem!


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Fine plane and fine pics. Always looking forward to the next part...

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On 8/5/2017 at 2:40 PM, HLJames said:

Very nice shots over still a problem!


Thanks,  I suspect weather will be a continual problem since I am trying to fly VFR and staying lower.  Can't wait till I get to India, I think monsoon season runs through September.

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