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You won’t see these two anywhere but Chino

December 8, 2013 in Show Reports

You’re not going to see these two original Japanese airplanes anywhere but at Planes of Fame in Chino. A bad day for photography, but when the world’s only J2M3 Raiden (Jack) and D4Y3 Suisei (Judy) are on display (the J2M3 hasn’t been publicly seen out of the hangar in the 36 years I have been going out to Chino) it would take a typhoon’s downpour to keep me from taking these photos.

Of course, yesterday was clear sun with clouds, and tomorrow is severe clear, and today was 44F with wind and rain. That’s the way it works in airplane photography.

18 additional images. Click to enlarge

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18 responses to You won’t see these two anywhere but Chino

  1. Great pics of some interesting subjects, I didn’t think it rained in California !!
    Cheers N.

    • I think it rains more than you think there Neil!!!

    • Southern California’s “Winter,” aka “the rainy season” runs from late November to around mid-March, followed by the “gloom season” until late June/early July with low clouds, followed by “Hell,” aka Summer from mid-July-early October, followed by the fire season until the rainy season.

      But when I listen to friends talk about the storm that hit all back east this weekend, 44F with rain and wind sounds pretty good. Even better is “I sat on the beach and stared up at the sun, then over at the girls in their bikinis playing volleyball, contemplated taking my shirt off, and thought to myself, ‘It’s January!'” 🙂

      There’s a reason why SoCal was settled by midwesterners.

  2. As Neil said , some nice pics. You must be very lucky to see such rare planes.

  3. Yeah you won’t see those just antwhere, willya. One thing I notice, the Japanese were right there with cowling streamlining. They both look similar to the modern turboprop in the background.

  4. Thanks for the pics Tom. Can you tell us how the aircraft were obtained?

    • The Jack was one of five airplanes, the others being the Zero, the Me-262, the P-51A and the P-47G, that had been given to the Mechanic’s School at Glendale Grand Central Air Terminal as instructional airframes after the war (they were just considered junk). When Grand Central was closed in the late 50s to make way for Interstate 5, the school called Ed Maloney – who was known to be collecting these things – and he got a flatbed and transported them out to the Claremont location of the original museum. The Me-262 was sold for boo-coo bucks in 2000 to finance museum expansion, having value by being the only original one not to have had its main spar cut. The Zero (which just got back from a tour in Japan) was restored to flight status in 1978 and is the only one in the world with an original Sakae engine. The P-47G is one of two razorback P-47s that flies (the other being at TFC in Duxford). The P-51A was restored to flight in 1980 and was the first restored Allison Mustang to fly.

      The D4Y3 was originally a D4Y-2 with the Japanese DB601, found in New Guinea where it had been strafed badly in 1944. As Steve Wallace said to me yesterday looking at it, “When it first arrived in boxes, you couldn’t believe it was anything but scrap aluminum.” It has been restored with an R-1830, and can taxi. The wing spar was too corroded to use for flight and too expensive to replace. I remember seeing it in the restoration shop over the past 8 years and it really did progress from a pile of scrap to an airplane.

      • At Duxford, there’s a sectional piece of a Zero that includes the canopy area. It’s been recovered I think from the Bay of Mandalay, and has been awaiting restoration for several years now.

        There’s both a poignant and ironic play with the Chino airframes. American occupaion forces in Japan in August, 1945 were amazed at the quantity and variety of aircraft available to the Japanese. Of course, most pilots by then were already dead, whether as poorly trained pilots sent up against the Americans, or simply lost in suicide waves.

  5. Thanks for sharing the photos Tom. Too bad about the weather, but they still turned out well. Just think of it on the positive side, so that you didn’t have to deal with the sun reflecting off the metal and washing out the photos! Really interesting to look at and lucky to have them there so close by.

  6. Tom, didn’t the Raiden used to be on display out at Griffith Park? I remember seeing it on a visit to my mom a long time ago, but I’m not sure it was that airplane.

  7. Even with the bad weather, those are some great photos. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great photos, Tom. Nice to see the Raiden outside for a change! Difficult to get around it where it was displayed last time I visited Chino. Should be headed up to POF East in a few days- it’s about a 2.5 hour drive, but it’s always worth the trip. Must get to Chino again soon!

  9. Nice! One of my few regrets of leaving California was never having made it to Chino.

  10. Wow, those are cool! I would love to see the collection out there, someday maybe, someday…:)

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