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Shinden That Never Was


A simple conversion project to make an unusual subject.

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.

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