R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
One of three barons in early Japanese aviation history, Ujihiro Iga was a family member of the Tosa-Sukumo clan, born around 1886. During his enlistment in the Army, he had an idea for a flying machine that could be used as a scout. He applied for a patent for his idea on 23 April, 1910, which was granted on 4 October of that year (Pat N.18633). After his discharge from the Army in March 1911 he built a model of his concept that he called the Iga Flying Device which closely resembled a biplane.
Iga's next venture was a monoplane glider with bamboo frame and fabric covering. The glider had an 8m (26ft 3in) wing span and weighed 90kg (198 1/2Ib). This was tested by being towed behind a car at Itabashi Race Track, Tokyo, on 16 March, 1911, with perhaps little success since the undercarriage was damaged during this attempt and nothing further was recorded.
Iga Maitsuru-go Aeroplane
In the summer of 1911, Baron Iga began the construction of a powered monoplane. At that time, a publishing company, the Science World Co (Kagaku Sekai Sha) was promoting aviation by publishing a special issue called Air Flying. The editor, Orito, became a sponsor of Iga and his flying machine, and the financier of the publishing company, Kihei Yanagihara, supported part of the construction expense. For an engine, Narazo Shimazu, the manager of Tankin, the long-established ornamental silverware store in Osaka, had built an Anzani fan-type three-cylinder 25hp engine which was then used for this aeroplane.
Named Maitsuru-go Aeroplane, meaning Dancing Crane, it closely resembled a reduced-span Bleriot monoplane. Iga had written to Louis BIeriot who kindly sent him drawings of his aeroplane which he used as reference. With this design concept, the flexibility of the wings was gained by using bamboo for wing ribs whose fabrication was assisted by a master bow-maker, Yasaku Ishizu. When completed in December 1911, it could truthfully be said that this aeroplane was built entirely from Japanese materials, something of note in these early times of Japanese-built machines.
On 24 December, 1911, a test flight attempt was made at the Tokyo Yoyogi Military Parade Grounds, being witnessed by Dr Aikichi Tanakadate and Capt Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, the latter having been the first man to fly in Japan the year before. Causing disappointment but not urprise, the aeroplane did not fly, because of engine problems, the norm in these early days rather than the exception.
Following this attempt, Iga ended his aviation research at his family's insistence. As a result, the airframe was handed over to Capt Kumazo Hino, the strong advocate of aviation and a member of the Provisional Military Balloon Research Association. (see Hino No.3 Aeroplane.)
Single-engine Bleriot-type monoplane. Primarily bamboo construction with fabric covering. Pilot in open cockpit.
2Shp Shimazu Anzani-type three-cylinder fan-type air-cooled engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 8m (26ft 3in); length 7.50m (24ft 7 1/4in).
Empty weight 205kg (452Ib).
One built in December 1911.