Commemorative Airforce - SoCal
A6M3 Type 0 - Model 22 Japanese Zero
560 A6M3 Model 22s
were built between December 1942 and summer of 1943. The
A6M3 was built after the Battle of Midway, with longer
wings, folding wing-tips (for carrier use), a more
powerful engine and the longest range of all the Zeros.
The first flight of the "Zero" fighter was April 1,
1939. Allied Intelligence applied the name "Zeke" to the
A6M, but it was better known as the Zero, the name
derived from its type designation after the year in
which it was put into service - 1940. Mitsubishi and
Nakajima built 10,449 "Zero" fighters (more than any
other type of Japanese aircraft). The single-seat
fighter has light-weight all-metal construction and
fabric-covered control surfaces. As the fighting on
Guadalcanal raged, the Zero 22s were rushed to Buna in
New Guinea and Buka in the Solomon Islands to provide
cover over the supply route to Guadalcanal.
Our Zero was delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air
Group #3. The aircraft was recovered from Babo in New
Guinea in 1991, partially restored from several A6M3s in
Russia, then brought to the United States for completion
of restoral. In 1998 the aircraft was re-registered and
displayed at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying.
Currently, this aircraft has a Pratt & Whitney R1830
engine (compared to the original Sakai engine in the
Planes of Fame Museum's flyable A6M5 Zero). There is,
nevertheless, the fact that Japan had a contract with
Pratt & Whitney before WWII in which P&W provided
engines for fighter planes and other aircraft. It is,
therefore, conceivable that some of the planes
participating in the Pearl Harbor attack could have been
powered by American engines.
This Zero is currently one of only three flyable Zeros
in the world.