R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Narahara No.2 Aeroplane
In early 1911, Sanji Narahara ordered for a second time a 50hp Gnome engine and this was delivered. For this engine he designed a new aircraft that he called the No.2 Aeroplane. Influenced by new British and French designs, Narahara introduced some dihedral to the wing and fitted ailerons. Once again, he used a tractor layout and placed the pilot's seat in an open-pod behind the engine, using booms on which to mount the tail. Because of reports of pilots being injured by splintered bamboo in mishaps in other countries, Narahara substituted wooden structural members.
The aeroplane was taken to Tokorozawa Flight Test Grounds, newly established as the first airfield in Japan. On 5 May, 1911, Narahara succeeded in flying this aeroplane, five months after two imported aircraft had made the first flights in Japan. Narahara's flight covered 60m (200ft) at about 4m in height, establishing the first flight recorded by a Japanese-made aeroplane. This historic event ended with a slight mishap when an undercarriage strut broke upon landing and damaged the propeller.
In later flights, the aeroplane recorded a maximum air distance of approximately 600m (nearly 2,000ft) at a height of approximately 60m (200ft). This was regarded as an amazing altitude since most early flying attempts were made at approximately 5m (16ft) height and on a straight-line course. It was with this aeroplane that the first civilian flying training was undertaken. Some of the students, including Einosuke Shiraro, Umejiro Imamura, Ginjiro Goto, and Saito, were later to become well known in Japanese aviation.
Single-engine tractor biplane with engine/pilot pod. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Pilot in open structure.
50hp Gnome seven-cylinder aircooled rotary engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span, upper 10m (32ft 9 1/2in), lower 9.20m (30ft 2 1/4in); length 10m (32ft 9 1/2in); height 2.80m (9ft 2 1/4in).
Empty weight 430kg (948Ib); loaded weight 550kg (1,212Ib).
One built in May 1911.