A Mitsubishi’s legendary Zero fighter took first flight over Japan after WWII on Wednesday. The Zero fighter, which was restored to flying condition, took a brief flight from a naval base in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture. Noteworthy that Kanoya is a major Japanese naval aviation base during World War II. It was also the staging area from where many kamikaze pilots took their final flights during World War II.
The Japan Times confirmed that the test pilot for the flight was retired Lieutenant Colonel Skip Holm. Holm is the three times recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and also a fighter pilot with around 300 combat mission during the Vietnamese war.
Zero fighters were considered as one of the greatest long range fighters of World War II. Around 11,000 were built during the WWII, but less than 10 units are in operating condition. This particular fighter plane was found in Papua New Guinea, in a site which was an important wartime Japanese military base. The fighter was owned by an American collector who repaired it into flying condition. Japanese businessman Masahiro Ishizuka purchased it for $3.5 million and brought it back to Japan in September 2015.
Ishizuka commented, “I wanted for the people of Japan and especially young people to know about this Zero airplane, as well as those who are old who remember the past.” He further stated, “each of them should have different thoughts and perspectives on this, but I just want people to know how Japan has developed its technology.”
The fighter plane also made an appearances in the Hollywood movie “Pearl Harbor” and various events in United States when it was with its American owner, as reported by The Japan Times.
The Zero reminds Japanese of their technological triumph. However, at the same time it is reminiscent of harrowing history of World War II. Nevertheless, the young people of Japan has got the opportunity to witness an iconic creation of their country.