R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Itoh Emi 6 Aeroplane) (Fujiwara Tsubame-go)
This was a typical two-bay sports biplane of the period, having a simple, light-weight wooden structure with fabric covering. Completed in May 1918 with a 40hp Elbridge four-cylinder inline watercooled engine, it was built at the request of Masaaki Fujiwara, from Tsuyama-cho, Okayama Prefecture. Fujiwara (who later changed his first name to Noburu) was one of the top bicycle racers in Japan, and had won the cycle racing championship in the Far East Olympic Games in Shanghai in 1916. Early in 1917, he decided to be an aviator, and took his training at the Itoh Airfield.
With the help of sponsors in Kobe, Fujiwara purchased this Itoh Emi 6 which he named Fujiwara Tsubame-go (Swallow), after the brand name of his favourite bicycle. Fujiwara moved to Kobe, taking his aircraft with him. While test flying this aeroplane from the Naruo Horse Racing Track west of Osaka on 13 November, 1918, he overshot on landing and badly damaged it. After major repairs and following a safe test flight on 14 December, he decided on a new name for his aeroplane, the Kobe-go.
Flying mishaps continued for Fujiwara. On 5 january, 1919, immediately after taking off from Naruo enroute to Kobe, the aeroplane stalled and crashed. Fujiwara survived, but the aeroplane did not; yet it is said that the misfortunes of Fujiwara in flying this and other aircraft established a new record of continuous air accidents for any one person. (see Ichimori Monocoque Aeroplane).
These misfortunes did not dampen Fujiwara's spirits, for he continued to fly with second-hand aircraft such as other Itoh Emi aeroplanes, Nakajima Type 5, converted Navy Type 10 Carrier Fighter, Type 14 Reconnaissance Seaplane and others, with repeated accidents and damage to the aeroplanes. To satisfy his mounting debts, he sold the six bath-houses he owned and withdrew from active participation in aviation. According to his own account, after 1,040 flying hours, he was involved in three total crashes, twelve over-turning on take off or landing, and four emergency landings. This became a classic case of 'quitting while still ahead' (and alive).
Technical data are not available.