CRASH LANDING OF A TYPE O, MK 2 SSF "HAP" (ZERO)
JAPANESE FIGHTER AIRCRAFT
AT EAGLE FARM AIRFIELD,
BRISBANE, QLD ON 21 JULY 1943

 

On 21 July 1943, a Japanese Type 0, Mk 2 SSF "Hap" fighter aircraft crash landed at Eagle Farm airfield. It was flown by an American pilot. This aircraft was rebuilt from parts of Japanese aircraft captured on Buna Air Strip in Papua New Guinea on 27 December 1942. The components were relocated to the A.T.I.U Hanger at Eagle Farm airfield, where the aircraft was rebuilt by the Air Technical Intelligence Unit of Allied Air Forces. This aircraft was possibly the one designated with the ATIU Reference ID of XJ001.

 


Photo: AWM 

"Hamp" (also known as "Hap", "Zeke" or "Zero") parked
in front of Hangar No. 7 at Eagle Farm airfield

 

The rebuilt "Hap" had its first 25 minute test flight at Eagle Farm airfield on 20 July 1943. This test flight tested the trim of the airplane. No problems were encountered and no major adjustments were needed except for some trimming. It was during the second of two test flights on 21 July 1943 that the "Hap" was damaged when the aircraft ground looped after a dead stick landing resulting in some damage to the aircraft. 

 

The engine cut out on a slow roll and never recovered due to carburettor problems. The right side landing gear was damaged sufficiently during the forced landing to require replacement. A grabbing brake probably caused the ground loop. There were no signs of a tendency to ground loop during the first two flights. 

 

After the right landing gear was repaired, the airplane still had a tendency to ground loop, but this time in the opposite direction, so a tail wheel lock was secured and installed. This seemed to fix the problem.

 

The brakes proved to be very inferior despite numerous relining, adjustment and checking of the system. As a result, all pilots were ordered not to use the brakes except in extreme emergency.

 


Photo:- "Dick" Graf

A Japanese A6M3 "Hamp" fighter based at Eagle Farm airfield during WW2.
B-17 Flying Fortress, "Sally" can be seen in the background of this photograph taken
on 12 August 1943. Jim Helton, Engineer for "Sally" is standing in front of the "Hamp"

 

A Mitsubishi A6M3 in American Markings

 

The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen was initially allocated the code of "Zeke" by Allied Intelligence during WW2. "Ray" and "Ben" were also used for a short time due to some confusion between the various theatres of war. When the new square wing-tipped model known as the Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 appeared, Allied Intelligence initially thought it was a totally new aircraft and assigned the new code name "Hap" in honour of General Hap Arnold, the Chief of Staff of the US Army Air Forces. This code name was changed to "Hamp" to avoid embarrassment for General Arnold. It was eventually realised that it was just another version of the "Zeke" so the "Hamp" changed code names again to become the "Zeke32". Due to this confusion, these code names were not often used, and the aircraft was more commonly know as the "Zero".

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War"
By Rene J. Francillon

"Queensland Airfields WW2 - 50 Years On"
By Roger R. Marks

Air Technical Intelligence Unit
Technical Intelligence Report No. 163
Subject: Recovery and Reconstruction of
Type 0 Mk 2 SSF Hap
16 September, 1943

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 16 August 2003

This page last updated 31 August 2015