R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Saburo Ogawa of Hirono-cho, Kagoshima City, was born on 18 November, 1896. Being an aeroplane enthusiast, at age 20 he began the design and manufacture of a biplane by studying his foreign aviation magazines. His efforts as a private home-builder of aircraft were not successful initially, but were typical of that time.
Ogawa No.1 Aeroplane
Ogawa's first attempt at designing and building an aeroplane was a biplane, powered by a 7hp modified motorcycle engine. It had a wing span of 7m and when empty weighed 120kg. Assisting him were his friends Misao Nakoshi and Yoshiji Masuda, who helped bring the project to completion in March 1917. Their most arduous task was the propeller which was made from laminated oak, and difficult to carve.
Causing them grave disappointment, their aeroplane did not fly, but it was recognized that insufficient power was the problem; their enjoyment came in using the aeroplane as a taxi-ing trainer.
Ogawa No.2 Aeroplane
Beginning in July 1917, Ogawa began modifications to his Aeroplane by installing a 16hp Excelsior
two-cylinder air-cooled engine. Skids were attached to the undercarriage to prevent nosing over. Tomio Wakita assisted with this work, for he had additional skills due to having studied at a flying school at Haneda. When the modifications were completed in june 1918, Ogawa's No.2 Aeroplane was given the name Taiyo-go, meaning Sun.
When all was ready for the first flight, Wakita was to be the pilot because of his previous experience. The aeroplane flew for about 50m a short distance off the ground, but suddenly a wing dipped, and it crashed, causing severe damage to the aeroplane but no serious injury to Wakita.