Fly Baby's Black Sheep Relative?

Posted September 2021

Turns out toward the end of WWII, one Japanese officer was working on light, simple, kamikaze aircraft.  The result was the Ta-Go...which has a lot of similarities to the Fly Baby:

For detailed information on this plane, check out its listing on the Plane Encyclopedia.  By 1945, Japan had been cut off from most of its supply sources and was having trouble building airplanes.  Captain Yoshiyuka Mizuyama of the Imperial Japanese Army designed a simple, cheap and easily producible plane requiring minimum materials for designated kamikaze units. He went to several companies to try to get a prototype built, finally finding Japanese International Aviation Industries Ltd.  A prototype was built as the Ki-128.  It was made of wood with a fabric covering, and had a 110 HP engine.  It carried a fixed (e.g., non-droppable) 100 kg (220 lb) bomb as a payload.  The wings folded, but vertically, rather than aft like a Fly Baby.

It first flew in June, 1945, with the test pilot offering some suggestions for design changes.  Redesign was begun, but didn't get very far before the Japanese surrendered two months later.

So, ha-ha, here's the Fly Baby's black-sheep relative.

But...but...THINK about it:  What was Pete Bowers doing in 1945?  He was working with Air Intelligence to document Japanese aircraft.

We don't know if he entered Japan to continue the work after the surrender.  But it's certainly possible he might have been sent to the factory that (among other things) built the Ta-Go.  Could he have examined the aircraft?

If nothine else, it DOES give a bit of inspiration for another warbird paint scheme for a Fly Baby....

Ron Wanttaja

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