R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Izaki, also Sempu Flying School (Privately-built) (Sempu Hiko Gakko)
When aviator Tsunesaburo Ogita returned to Japan from France in May 1914, he took with him an 80hp Le Rhone powered Morane-Saulnier MS 5 monoplane. He won first prize in the altitude category by reaching 2,000m at the First Civil Flying Meet, at Naruo in june 1914. Later, on 2 September, 1914, when he made an exhibition flight over Kyoto City, he was honoured by His Highness Prince Fushimi by giving his aeroplane the name Sempu, (meaning cut the wind with a wing).
With this aeroplane, Ogita established the Sempu Flying School in Yokaichi, near Ohtsu by Lake Biwa. After nearly eight months of flying in Japan, the aeroplane crashed soon after taking off from the Fukakusa Military Parade Grounds in Kyoto on 3 january, 1915. It struck the ground at the nearby Army ordnance arsenal, killing Ogita and his assistant Shigeharu O-hashi, and was destroyed. The parts were collected and, along with spares for the aeroplane, were stored at the nearby Kyoto Flight Sponsorship Society (Kyoto Hiko Koenkai).
No.2 Sempu-go Aeroplane
One month after the fatal crash, the Kyoto Flight Sponsorship Society decided in February 1915 to build an aeroplane from the remaining parts. With a working budget of 2,500 yen, Shozo Izaki and five flying students set about the task of rebuilding. The same 80hp Le Rhone rotary engine was used, but the repair of the engine by the Shimazu Motor company in Osaka delayed completion of the aeroplane until that August. It was called the No.2 Sempu-go Aeroplane in honour of Ogita.
Initial test flights were made by Army 2-Lt (Reserve) Kyubei Kumaki and Shozo Izaki at the Okinohara ground in Yokaichi. The aeroplane proved very successful and caught the interest of a number of foreign aviators. The first of these was the American pilot Charles F Niles, when, on 31 january, 1916, he set japan's altitude record of 3,050m (10,000ft) with this aeroplane. Later one of the team members of the Miss Katherine Stinson aerobatic circus, pilot engineer Frank Champion, remained in Japan after the team returned to the United States in May 1917. His plan was to make a nonstop flight between Naruo and Tokyo flying the No.2 Sempu-go. In preparation, he equipped the aeroplane with a fuel tank to give a duration of six hours, sufficient for the flight.
He took off from Naruo on 3 june, 1917, but while en route two emergency landings were made, one near Yokaichi and finally at Hamamatsu because of engine problems. The aeroplane had to be dismantled and returned to Yokaichi by rail for repair. When operational again and while performing in an aerobatic exhibition by Frank Champion on 30 October, 1917, over Kouchi City, Shikoku Island, the aeroplane disintegrated and Champion was killed in the crash.
Single-engine shoulder-wing monoplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Two in open cockpits.
80hp Le Rhone nine-cylinder aircooled rotary engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 9.30m (30ft 6in); length 6.58m (21ft 7in); wing area 14.5sqm (156.08sq ft).
Loaded weight 550kg (1,212Ib).
Maximum speed 70kt (81 mph); service ceiling 3,000m (9,843 ft); normal endurance 1 1/2hr.
One built in June 1915.