R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Shirato Iwao-go Aeroplane
Having a close working relationship with Otojiro Itoh and recognizing his success with the design of the Asahi-go, Shirato asked Itoh to design another aeroplane for him. This was a seaplane, the first japanese-built civil seaplane.
The design was begun in late December 1915 and completed late the next month. It was a twin-float tractor biplane powered by a 60hp Indian rotary engine which was lent to Shirato by his friend Yuzo Umeda who often assisted with his work. Construction of the new aeroplane began on 28 january, 1916, with Shimo making the first flight on 3 March. Two weeks later, Shirato took this aeroplane, the Iwao-go, on the first of many exhibition flights, making the first from Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture.
After other flights and exhibitions, Shirato encountered a series of problems after one of the floats struck a floating log on Lake Biwa near Ohtsu in Shiga Prefecture, and the exhibition had to be cancelled. The promoter of the event, Kyotsu Nippo (a newspaper company) placed a lien against Shirato for failing to honour his contract. Umeda, the owner of the engine, filed a counter suit with the Takamatsu District Court, and the case was settled out of court for 400 yen. Somehow this passed the ownership of the aeroplane to 19-year-old Yukichi Goto, one of Shirato's assistants, who had obtained money from his father. Goto took the aeroplane to his home in Nobeoka-cho, Miyazaki Prefecture, where he planned to fly it. Because special skills were required to fly a seaplane, apart from having general flying ability, Goto soon tired of the aeroplane and returned it to Umeda in February 1917 and went to Tokyo where he joined the Imperial Flying Association as a flying student to improve his skill as a pilot.
Single-engine twin-float tractor biplane. All-wooden construction with fabric covering. Pilot in open cockpit.
60hp Indian nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary-engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 11 m (36ft 1in); length 7.50m (24ft 7 1/4in); wing area 29sq m(312.163 sq ft).
Empty weight 400kg (881Ib)
One built in 1916.