R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
Sakamoto No.6 Aeroplane
Brief mention has already been made of Juichi Sakamoto and his association with Tachibana. During his partnership, the Sakamoto No.6 Aeroplane was built at the Nippon Hikoki Seisakusho at his request. Having travelled to the United States in 1908, Sakamoto had built his previous aircraft there. While studying at a Los Angeles Technical College, he built his first aeroplane which resembled a Bleriot. The degree of success attained went unrecorded. After graduation he built and flew the Sakamoto No.2 Aeroplane which was of the Curtiss pusher type. Between May and November 1912, Sakamoto studied at the Shiller Aviation School and acquired pilot's licence No.192 on 8 January, 1913, from the Aero Club of America.
The next year he built and tested a Wright-type single-engined, twin-propeller tractor followed by a Curtiss-tractor as his No.3 and No.4. Sakamoto's No.5 combined Wright and Curtiss features. With this aeroplane, Sakamoto returned to Japan in April 1914. It was the success of this aeroplane in competitions and demonstrations that had interested Sakamoto in establishing an aviation school in Zasshonokuma with Tachibana although it did not happen.
Having worn out his No.5 aeroplane within one year with his flying activities, he required a replacement. The building of this aeroplane at the Nippon Hikoki Seisakusho was accomplished under the supervision of the Americans Barr Williams and Harley Holms in March 1915. The new aircraft was similar to the No.5, having two seats and tractor configuration but this time the ailerons were set within the planform of the upper wing, and the orthodox two-wheel undercarriage was without the usual skids. Sakamoto used the engine that had been installed in his No.5 aeroplane.
Sakamoto entered this aeroplane in the altitude category of the Second Civil Flying Meet held at Naruo Race Track in December 1915. He reached 600m (1,968ft) and won first prize, even though he was forced to make an emergency landing with engine trouble which resulted in an overturned aeroplane and some damage. After repairs and numerous exhibitions, Sakamoto took his aeroplane to Shantung in China in September 1916 to assist the Chinese revolution and established there the Revolutionary Army Aviation School. He and Ryokan Tachibana, the company owner, who was with him, were given major-general status and began pilot training for the Chinese. When their work was completed, Sakamoto sold the No.6 to the Chinese revolutionary army and returned to Japan in the spring of 1918. Sakamoto's later occupation is not known, but he died on 1 October, 1976, at the age of 87.
Single-engine tractor biplane. Wooden structure with fabric covering. Two seats in open cockpit.
80hp Curtiss OX eight-cylinder vee water-cooled engine, driving a two-bladed wooden propeller.
Span 11m (36ft 1in); length 8m (26ft 3in); height 2.30m (7ft 6 1/2in).
Empty weight 490kg (1,080lb).
One built in 1915.