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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture No 1280 Tail 370, -321
IJN
? Kōkūtai

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1944 via Bob Rocker
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via Ray Fairfield 1969
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R Worcester
1973
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Randy Ogg
1976

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B Fenstermaker 1991
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Justin Taylan 2003

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works on April 16, 1942. Assigned to ? Kokutai. Tail code "370" and later "-321".

Wartime History
The precise wartime history of this aircraft is unknown, but likely varied and included many combat missions.  It is possible that towards the end of its life, the bomber served as a transport plane.

Force landed at Babo Airfield, the port engine was not running, and gear retracted when it landed, severely damaged on landing, and crushing the nose. Both wings were removed and located near the bomber, possibly after the crash by the Japanese. Also there was a larger gash in the rear fuselage that nearly severed the tail section.

Wreckage
This airframe remained abandoned at Babo Airfield until 1991.

Recovery
Recovered by Bruce Fenstermaker in 1991. Inside the wreckage, he found an ink pen from one of the crew members, a gift for a martial arts competition. Placed into a container and shipped to the United States, arriving in Los Angeles, California. Originally intended for the Santa Monica Museum of Flight. Unsold, the the aircraft was purchased by The Planes of Fame Museum.

Display
Since the 1990s, displayed unrestored as a diorama indoors at Planes of Fame Museum.

Jim Long adds:
"My friend Greg James inspected this Betty and a Judy when they arrived at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in the 1990s. I wrote a report about the identity of the Betty for Ed Maloney dated 27 October 1997, the date when I started doing the research. Greg James determined the correct MN by examining the remains of the fuselage stencil on 23 November 1997, as I requested him to do when I was preparing the report to Maloney.

As a matter of fact he was able to make a life-size drawing of the stencil and some of its characters and numbers. The right portion of the stencil was clear enough to see that the top line labeled the plane as a Model 11, that the second line carried the manufacture number 1280, and that the third line carried three numerals of the date of manufacture: 2 [missing] 16. From this information and the life-size drawing supplied by James, plus my own research about serial numbers, I was able to determine that the individual plane was completed by Mitsubishi on 16 April 1942.

James noted that at least part of a tail marking survived. The vertical tail carried a large marking, probably white in color, on the right side of the fin, consisting of the numerals 7 and 0. James could not see a numeral 3 preceding the 70, probably because it had weathered so badly. Even the 70 could only just be made out, but they were clear enough for James to roughly measure them. The height of the two figures was about 521.5 millimeters. The width of the 0 was about 441 mm and that of the 7 was about 419 mm.

This was enough information for me to guess that the individual airplane's number was 370. There may or may not have been a unit letter or unit letter and number that preceded the 370. Many of the Bettys operating in the area carried no unit identifier for a time. The left side of the fin, where such a marking would have been was covered with paint markings put on by the salvagers. From his vantage point on the ground, James could not see any original markings on the left side of the fin, if any were there. He was not allowed to climb upon the tail section to take a closer look."

References
Air'Tell Research Report "G4M Serial Numbers" by Jim Long
Thanks to Bruce Fenstermaker, Jim Long for additional information

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Last Updated
January 1, 2014

 

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