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Kawasaki Ki-61

Kawasaki Ki-61
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        Primary Function:
        Weight Empty:
        Max. Weight:
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        Year Deployed:
DB 601A in-line V12
1,175 h.p.
5,800 lbs.
7,650 lbs.
2- 20 mm
2- 12.7 mm
29 ft. 4 in.
39 ft. 5 in.
350 mph
2,200 fpm
32,800 feet
1,180 miles

The Kawasaki Ki-61, called Hien (Allied code name Tony), was the only Japanese front line fighter aircraft produced during World War II with an in-line engine. The Daimler Benz 601A engine of the aircraft was built under license.

When Allied pilots first encountered the Ki-61, they thought it was a new design of German or Italian origins. In fact, the origin of the aircraft dates back to 1923 when the Kawasaki Aircraft Engineering Company had a German, Dr. Richard Vogt, as its chief designer.

Although in line engines have been successfully used by many aircraft, the radial was preferred overall.

The primary advantage of using an in line engine in an aircraft is the ability to lessen drag by narrowing and streamlining the nose.

The radial engine was generally simpler to maintain and proved more reliable than in line engines of similar power.

A drawback of in line engines is that they are liquid cooled. That usually means additional weight and a cooling system that could be disabled by a hit during combat.

The robust crank shafts of radial engines can be made shorter than those of in line engines. The shorter crank shafts need fewer bearings than the longer ones of in line engines. Radial engines also tend to vibrate less than in line engines.  This results in less overall airframe wear. Their overall length, being shorter than in line engines, results in a single engine aircraft that has a shorter nose to see over.

The more streamlined design of the Kawasaki Ki-61 enabled it to have a higher speed than aircraft equipped with radial engines with the same power output. This was particularly apparent to Allied pilots who observed the excellent zoom climb of the aircraft when it was first introduced in August of 1942. Allied pilots also found that they no longer could out dive their opposition. However, in time, the Kawasaki Ki-61 was outclassed with the introduction of more modern Allied fighter aircraft.

Over 3,150 Kawasaki Ki-61 aircraft were built.

Kawasaki Ki-61
Kawasaki Ki-61

Pictured above is the rc Kawasaki Ki-61 from VQ Warbirds. It is an ARF with a wingspan of 62" and a length of 49". Needs .61 two cycle, .91 four cycle engines, or KMS 4120/07 brushless motor. All up weight is about 6 1/2 lbs.

Kawasaki Ki-61

The 52" wingspan rKawasaki Ki-61 built by Ivor of RC Groups is powered by a 400 XT motor turning a 9 x 7.5 propeller. Ivor tells us that the ready to fly weight is only 21 1/2 oz.

Kawasaki Ki-61

The Kawasaki Ki-61 from Flying Styro has a wingspan of 36" with a length of 27.5". Included is a geared speed 300 motor spinning a 9 1/4 x 8 prop.

Kawasaki Ki-61.

That's Didier Fevrier and his Kawasaki Ki-61 slope soarer. It has a 71" wingspan and uses ailerons, rudder and elevator controls. You can find plans in the PSS Model Plans Directory.

RCM has plans for the 61" wingspan Kawasaki Ki-61. It will need .40 to .60 engines for power. Danny Reiss is the designer.

Kit cutters has short kits, full kits, or plans for sale of two sizes of the giant scale Kawasaki Ki-61 designed by Don Smith. The smaller has a wingspan of 86" with a fuselage that is 64" long. You will need a 1.8 c.i.d. engine to power it. The larger has a wingspan of 100" and is 74" long. Recommended power comes from a 2.1 c.i.d. engine.

At RC Universe nemesis4u started a thread about a new Kawasaki Ki-61 ARF.

Hot Rod Todd of RC Universe posted a picture and description of his Kawasaki Ki-61.

At RC Universe biplane13 asked about the quality of a Kawasaki Ki-61 model.

At RC Universe rcpilotsteve-RCU started a thread about his Kawasaki Ki-61.

CaptainBlueSky of RC Universe mentioned a Kawasaki Ki-61 kit in a posting.

At RC Universe stallwart posted a picture and description of a Kawasaki Ki-61.

RCWORLDINC posted a video of a Kawasaki Ki-61 on You Tube.

At You Tube antoniobetados posted a video taken from his Kawasaki Ki-61.

At RC Groups nemesis4u posted a link to the Kawasaki Ki-61.

Larry076 of RC Groups posted pictures and a description of his Kawasaki Ki-61.

Low Pass of RC Groups started a thread detailing the construction of his Kawasaki Ki-61.

At RC Groups termite had a Kawasaki Ki-61 kite.

At RC Groups shschon had a Kawasaki Ki-61 ARF.

Sky Sharkster of WattFlyer posted three view drawings, pictures, and information about the Kawasaki Ki-61.

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