R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Kaishiki No.7 Small Aeroplane
Extending his aircraft design ingenuity, Lt Shigeru Sawada created the first Japanese-made aeroplane that could be classed as a fighter aircraft. This was a Curtiss-pusher design that used the rebuilt Curtiss OX-5 from the crashed Kaishiki No.7. Along with the more modern tricycle-type undercarriage and eliminating skids, this aeroplane featured a flexible forward-firing machinegun.
Incorporating the aerobatic features of the Curtiss-built aeroplane, it was a small and nimble aircraft. The design was begun in the autumn of 1915 and the aeroplane completed on 11 June, 1916, making its first flight two days later. It was officially designated the Kaishiki 7 Small Aeroplane, but within the Association it was known as the Kaishiki Kaizo (Association-Type Modified) 3rd Year Model Aeroplane. Other names, for record purposes, included Kaishiki 7 Pursuit as well as the Sawada Curtiss Pursuit.
Because of the aircraft's apparent success, Lt Sawada was sent to Europe to study the latest developments being used in the war. On his return to Japan in February 1917, he continued further tests with his Kai-7 fighter. On 8 March, 1917, while making a dive from approximately 600m (2,000ft), he levelled at about 200m (656ft) at which point the structure failed and the aircraft crashed just north of Tokorozawa Airfield. Lt Sawada was killed, and his loss was severely felt by his associates and Japanese Army aviation in general, for he was regarded as a genius in aircraft design and a distinguished pilot.
Single-engine pusher biplane fighter aircraft with crew nacelle. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Tricycle undercarriage. Pilot in open cockpit.
90-100hp Curtiss OX-5 eight-cylinder vee water-cooled engine, driving a Curtiss two-bladed wooden propeller.
One nose-mounted flexible machinegun.
Span 11 m (36ft 1in); length 9m (29ft 6 1/4in); wing area 41.2sq m (443.487sq ft).
Loaded weight 734kg (1,618Ib); wing loading 17.8kg/sq m (3.6Ib/sq ft); power loading 7.34kg/hp (16.2Ib/hp).
Maximum speed 60kt (69mph).
One built in June 19 I6.