R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Awazu Flight Research Studio (Awazu Hiko Kenkyusho)
Minoru Awazu, an aviation enthusiast, was the third son of one of the chief guardians of the Ohtani families of the Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto and this social status gave Awazu the opportunity to pursue interests which were denied to those whose primary purpose had to be that of survival. He founded the Kyoto Flight Education Society, and because of his continued enthusiasm, this expanded to the manufacture of aeroplanes and later, to a flying training business.
Using his educational background acquired at an industrial arts school, he made a makeshift workshop in a room in the temple and, around 1918, established an aeroplane company that he called the Awazu Flight Research Studio. With his first and only aeroplane, and a taxi-ing trainer, Awazu embarked upon the flying training business at the area that was known as Katsuragawa Airfield (later called Awazu Flying School) on the dry bed of the Katsura River in Kyoto, managed by aviator Ginzo Nojima.
Awazu No.2 Seicho-go Aeroplane
Having acquired a 70hp Mercedes Daimler engine confiscated from the Germans during the Japanese-German encounters in Tsingtao in China, Awazu and Nojima began the design of their new aeroplane. The propeller and the radiator were fashioned according to technical documents brought back from China with the engine. When their design was completed, construction was turned over to Terutaka Tamai, a younger brother of the late Seitaro Tamai, an established builder of aeroplanes under this name.
When the aeroplane was completed in March 1919, the high-priest of the Higashi Honganji Temple, Kouen Ohtani, named it the Seicho-go, meaning Bluebird. To have a safe place for making its first flight, the aeroplane was moved by rail to Tokyo and the sandy triangular ground at Haneda where Seitaro Tamai had established a flying field for his Nippon Flying School. Satisfied with success after several flights made by Terutaka Tamai, Awazu had the aeroplane shipped again, this time to Yokkaichi on Ise Bay, south of Nagoya, home of the Tamai family and aircraft
On a commemorative flight on 26 August, 1919, however, after taking off from the Chikko reclaimed ground, Tamai had to make an emergency landing due to rapidly deteriorating weather, and the aeroplane turned over upon landing. After repair, he made a flight over Kyoto from the Fukakusa Parade Grounds in October 1919 at Awazu's request, and delivered the aeroplane to Awazu.
With the aeroplane to hand, Awazu Flight Research Studio became the Awazu Flying School at the so-called Katsuragawa Airfield situated on the Katsura Riverbed. For flying training, he used this Seicho-go Aeroplane and the 35hp Franklin powered Awazu No.3 Ground Taxi-ing Trainer. As instructors, he acquired the services of Sadajiro Okamoto and Fumisaburo Kataoka, both former members of the Tamai Airfield.
This location for flight training became impractical when the river filled, causing interruption of flying lessons. After much criticism from the students, flying was moved to the Fukakusa Parade Grounds in Kyoto, but coupled with poor management influenced by Awazu's weak and vacillating character, many students left the school and eventually the airfield and flying school were closed.
Converting the Seicho-go to a floatplane, Awazu used the aeroplane on nearby Lake Biwa, the first seaplane operation there, and established a seaplane base.
Single-engine tractor biplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Two seats in open cockpits.
70hp Mercedes Daimler four-cylinder inline water-cooled engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 11.54m (37ft 10 1/4in); length 7.22m (23ft 8 1/4); height 2.88m (9ft 4 3/4in); wing area 27. 7sq m (298.17sq ft).
Empty weight 453kg (998lb); loaded weight 726kg (1,600lb).
Maximum speed 61 kt (70mph); climb to 1,000m (3,280ft) in 10min; endurance 1hr.
One built, in March 1919.