A simple conversion project to make an unusual
By a strange coincidence, all the major combatants In world War ll began
development of canard, or tail-first, fighters during the early forties.
However, only the American Curtis XP-55 Ascender and the Japanese Kyushu
J7W1 were actually flown.
The J7W1 was designed as a short-range bomber interceptor. The canard
concept was extensively tested, using three tail-first gliders, and in July,
1945, the first of two J7Wl Shindens (Magnificent Lightning) was readied for
flight. Unfortunately, during the take-off run, the Shinden was over-rotated
and the pusher propeller dug into the ground, causing minor damage to the
plane. On August 3, the first flight was successfully concluded. The radical
plane showed a performance potential with considerable promise, so a
production schedule was set up which was intended to produce over l,000
Shindens per year. This plan was never fulfilled, though, due to extensive
bombing raids by American B-29's, the Shinden's intended opponent.
Ultimately, only the prototype was flown, and this for only a total of 45
minutes acquired in three hops. A second airframe was constructed, but the
War ended before testing could begin.
Copyright ©2002 - Text and
Photos by Steve Brooks (Salt6). All Rights Reserved.