R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
As with the majority of early private builders of aircraft in Japan, Kiyotake Shigeno was from an upper-class family, the third son of Baron Kiyoharu Shigeno, a Lt-Gen in the Imperial Japanese Army. Kiyotake lost his two older brothers through illnesses and therefore became the heir to his family position at an early age. He entered the Army Central Cadet School, but left it halfway through his training because of illness and finished his education at the Tokyo Ueno Conservatory, majoring in music.
At the age of 28, in july 1910, he left Japan for France, perhaps quite despondent after the death of his wife four months earlier. On arriving in Paris he went to an automobile driving school, and later to a flying school at Juvissy. Soon after, the school was closed and he transferred to the Caudron flying school and then the Issy-les-Moulineaux flying school, and acquired international pilot licence No. 744 on 26 january, 1912.
Shigeno Wakadori-go Aeroplane
In 1912, Shigeno designed a single-seat tractor biplane and placed an order for its manufacture with Charles Roux, of France, who had already built a monoplane with the same structural principles. He named this aeroplane Wakadori-go, meaning Young Bird, after his late wife, Wakako. Powered at first by a 4050hp Gregoire-Gyp four-cylinder water-cooled engine, it was soon replaced by a 50-60hp Anzani engine for its first flight on 26 April, 1912. The aeroplane was exhibited at the Fourth International Aviation Salon held in Paris that year.
During the flight-test period of the Wakadori-go, Shigeno was summoned by his family to return to Japan and left France in May 1912 by ship with his dismantled aeroplane. It was reassembled at Tokorozawa Flight Test Grounds the following September. On 9 September, when Shigeno banked too steeply at low altitude just after take off, the wingtip touched the ground, causing damage to the wings, propeller, and undercarriage. After repairs, the new wings were of greater span with consequent Increase in wing area.
After these repairs and modifications, the Wakadori-go set a new civil aeroplane record in Japan on 20 April, 1913, reaching 300m (984ft) with a flight of 45min. The existence of flyable aircraft in Japan at this early date was quite an accomplishment. Later, the Anzani engine was installed in a Kaishiki aeroplane belonging to the Provisional Military Balloon Research
Single-engine tractor biplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Pilot in open cockpit.
60hp Anzani six-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span, upper 10.07m (33ft 0 1/4in), lower 7.09m (23ft 3in), cord 1.54m (5ft); length 8.106m (26ft 7in); wing area 24.33sq m (261.89sq ft).
Empty weight 370kg (815lb); loaded weight 500kg (1,102Ib).
Maximum speed 62kt (71 mph), endurance 3hr.
One built in April 1912.
In April 1914, Baron Shigeno returned to France to purchase a new aeroplane. After the start of the First World War that August he joined the French Army as a 2-Lt assigned to Pau aerodrome. During the war, he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur and Croix de Guerre while serving with one of the Escadrilles des Cigognes (Stork Squadrons). He attained the rank of Captain. In january 1920, Shigeno returned to Japan with his second wife, Jeanne, and their daughter, Ayako. He planned a career in aviation but died in Osaka in October 1924.
L.Opdyke French Aeroplanes Before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing