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  A6M3 Model 32 Zero Manufacture Number 3318 Tail S-112 (Y2-128)
IJN
? Kōkūtai

Click For Enlargement
via Ron Werneth 1998

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Buffy's Best 2005

Aircraft History
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.

Wartime History
Abandoned at Taroa Airfield.

Wreckage
Remained 'in situ' until 1991.

Recovery
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. 

Restoration
Sterling 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."

References
Thanks to Ryan Toews, Derek Brown and Ron Werneth for additional information.
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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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

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