New Zero restoration ready for delivery
After a restoration that took some ten years, Legend Flyers in Everett (WA) is almost ready to deliver the latest of its achievements, a Mitsubishi Zero.
The fighter has been restored to airworthy condition for the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach (VA). During the restoration the original powerplant was replaced by a US built Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial. It has not made its first post restoration flight yet, but that can happen any time soon.
Unique item on this Zero is the original (and functional) arrester hook, indicating the plane was a genuine carrier fighter.
The Zero with construction number 3148 is registered as N9944 in the FAA register and indicated as an A6M3. Other sources consider c/n 3148 to be an A6M2-21.
The fighter is finished in an unusual colour scheme with serial 994/S-112. These colours are authentic and indicate the Zero was donated by a school community in Manchuria.
In Japanese service S-112 operated in several regions of the Pacific theatre, until it was heavily damaged during a raid on Maloelap Atoll, Taroa, Marshall Islands and put aside.
The plane was recovered and shipped to the USA in 1991 and then stored at the US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB (OH). It was used as a pattern for the restoration of another Zero fighter. Legend Flyers acquired it in 2012 and started the restoration.
Photo: Military Aviation Museum