R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Tachibana, also Japan Aeroplane Manufacturing Works (Nippon Hikoki Seisakusho)
In March 1915, a Gyro-engined Curtiss was purchased by Ryokan Tachibana just before his return to Japan from the United States. However, since he had not obtained a pilot's licence, he joined with aviator Shigeru Suzuki, who had also returned from the United States and became the exhibition pilot for Tachibana's Gyro-powered Curtiss at various places in Japan. Unfortunately, after a brief period while flying from the Asakura Military Grounds in Kouchi City, Shikoku Island, the aeroplane crashed on 25 May of that year, severely injuring Suzuki. The aeroplane was repaired but was again severely damaged in a landing accident at Zentsuji on Shikoku the following month.
In the meantime, the owner of the aeroplane, Tachibana, intended establishing a flying school and an aeroplane manufacturing company in Noda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka. At that time he learned that Juichi Sakamoto had announced his intention of establishing an aviation school in Zasshonokuma, Tsukushigun, Fukuoka Prefecture, under the sponsorship of the chief editor of the Kyushu Nippo (Daily Report) newspaper. Rather than competing with one another, Tachibana and Sakamoto joined partnership with the intention of forming the Oriental Aviation School (Toyo Hiko Gakko) in Zasshonokuma, at Fukuoka. This did not happen but the association of the two men continued.
Tachibana therefore went ahead with his plans to form the Japan Aeroplane Manufacturing Works (Nippon Hikoki Seisakusho) in Osaka. This facility came under the supervision of two Americans, aviator Barr Williams and engineer Harley Holms who accompanied Tachibana on his return to Japan with his aeroplane.
Suzuki Gyro No.2 Tractor
Using the wrecked components of Tachibana's Curtiss tractor, and incorporating design improvements made by Shigeru Suzuki, the aeroplane was rebuilt at the Nippon Hokoki Seisakusho (Japan Aeroplane Manufacturing Works), and called the Suzuki Gyro No.2 Tractor. An obvious difference from the original Curtiss design was that the rear part of the fuselage, formerly left uncovered and exposing its structure, was now completely covered. The former skids attached to the undercarriage were now eliminated. Once successfully test flown, it was entered in a competition at the Second Civil Flight Meet at Naruo Race Track near Osaka in December 1915. Flown by Ieyasu Nakazawa, it won the Second Prize for duration with a flight of 29min 35sec.
Although this was a two-seat aircraft, it was difficult to take off when carrying two, so it was used as a single-seater. Later this aeroplane became part of the Itoh Airfield organization.
Single-engine tractor biplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Two seats in open cockpits.
60hp Gyro J five-cylinder aircooled rotary engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 9.20m (30ft 2 1/4in); length 6.10m (20ft).
Empty weight 370kg (815Ib); loaded weight 500kg (1,102lb).
Maximum speed 60kt (69mph); endurance 1 1/2hr.
One built in 1915.