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  D3A2 Model 22 Val Manufacture Number 3178  
IJN
Zuikaku Air Group

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Ray Fairfield 1967
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R Diemert via CAF 1968
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Barry Flood 1969
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John Loughman 1969
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Dave Fletcher 1969
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Planes of Fame 1991
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Justin Taylan 2003
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Justin Taylan 2010

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi, completed during early April 1943. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to Assigned to the Zuikaku. This aircraft was painted with dark green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. The leading edge of the wing had a yellow identification stripe. The fuselage had two white fuselage stripes rear of the hinomaru, suggesting it was assigned to Zuikaku.

Wartime History
During early April 1943 this aircraft land based at Ballale Airfield following Operation I-Go Sakusen and was abandoned, possibly due to battle damage or was disabled on the ground afterwards. This aircraft was abandoned with the engine removed.

Wreckage
Remained in situ on near the landing area until 1968. A tree impact dented the spine of the tail.

Recovery
Recovered by Robert Diemert in 1698. This Val was cut into components. Removed along with: A6M2 3471, A6M2 Zero Houkoku 1045 and a D3A2 Val 3178 in addition to other Zero parts.

The aircraft were transported by barge to Port Moresby where they were stored for a month outdoors at Jackson Airport. They were left in a pile until the middle of January 1969 when Robert Diemert setup an export deal with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to transport the wreckage aboard a Hercules to Canada.

Restoration
This was the first of the recovered aircraft to be restored by Robert Diemert at his home in Carman, Canada. Restored using a Wright R-2600 radial engine.

First Flight
When the Val first flew on November 22, 1969 it was not yet registered or cleared with Transport Canada. Transportation Canada had RCMP officers present at Diemert's private airfield to arrest him when he was going to land after the flight, Instead, he flew about 20 miles to the RCAF base at nearby Portage la Prairie and landing there. Being a military base, Transport Canada had no authority and could not arrest him. Diemert reported getting the plane to 260 knots, but felt that it was capable of 325. He said: "It handled like a big AT-6. Heavy on the controls, but "quite speedy and very maneuverable, of course."

Display
Later, he flew the aircraft to Ottawa and delivered it to Canadian National Aviation Museum, in return for the transportation services of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), for transporting the wreckage from Port Moresby in January 1969.

In 1991, Canadian National Aviation Museum traded to the Planes of Fame Museum, for a helicopter with Canadian provenance. 

Today, it is displayed at Planes of Fame Museum restoration hanger, in a partially restored state. No immediate timetable for further restoration is planned, although the museum does expect to re-restore the plane at some point in the future.

References
"Serial Number & Production Sequence D3A2 Carrier Bombers" by Jim Long.
Thanks to Ryan Toews, Mark Foster and Edward Maloney for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

Tech Info
Val

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