Built by Mitsubishi, estimated date of assembly during November 1942. Assigned to ? Kokutai with tail code S-112, over painted with tail code Y2-128.
Abandoned at Taroa Airfield.
Remained 'in situ' until 1991.
Recovered by John
Sterling, in the 1991 after a year of negotiation,
including sleeping in the jungle for nearly three months during the recovery
of four Zeros: this aircraft plus A6M3 3685, A6M3
3148 and A6M2 31574. All were disassembled,
crated and shipped to his home in Boise, Idaho during May 1991.
focused his efforts on restoring A6M3 3318 and using parts from the others wrecks
to support this single restoration.
During 2000-2001, sold to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and displayed at the museum. Currently under restoration
by Vintage Aircraft Ltd in
Colorado. Vintage Aircraft has undertaken a complete new restoration
effort that utilizes the original A6M3 3318 pieces rather
than the restoration work by Sterling.
Vintage Aircraft is manufacturing
new components when required from original Mitsubishi A6M3 specs to
facilitate an airworthy restoration, which will include a genuine Sakae
engine. Special care is being taken to research the paint colors and
aircraft markings. When complete, this restoration will result in one
of the most authentic Zero aircraft yet seen.
Derek Brown Buffy's Best adds:
"It is actually the heat treated (unpainted
at this point) aluminum you are seeing. When it is ready for paint
they will use the Mitsubishi interior color. They are really going
the extra mile on this restoration. They are even having an entire
new set of cockpit and misc data plates made in Japan, that match the
Japanese characters that Mitsubishi used in the early 40's! They are
also using original instruments, and when not possible to obtain, have
made incredible facsimiles of the instrument fronts to use with the
appropriate size American instruments. You'd never know from the outside
that these were not Japanese instruments. Amazing level of detail."
Thanks to Ryan Toews, Derek Brown and Ron Werneth for additional
Asahi Journal Vol 1 No 2 "The
Return of Japan's Legendary Zero Fighter" January 1998 interview with John Sterling.
FlyPast "Zero Restorations" by Ron Werneth August 2005
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January 9, 2018