Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hiro H2H1 Navy Type 89 Flying-boat

Near the end of 1928, the Navy imported from Britain an all-metal Supermarine Southampton biplane flying-boat. This Napier Lion-powered aircraft was a straight-forward design, unlike the radical and more advanced German flying-boats. It revealed many innovations in all-metal hull design, features which the Japanese Navy hoped to incorporate in an aircraft as a replacement for the Type 15 Flying-boat.

After performance testing at Yokosuka, the Southampton was ferried to the Hiro Arsenal for further study before the design was begun of a new Japanese aircraft. Lieut-Cdr (Ordnance) Jun Okamura was assigned as chief designer for the project that began in 1929. For obvious reasons this aircraft bore a striking resemblance to the Southampton, the most noticeable difference being a single fin and rudder in place of the Southampton's three. Compared to the Type 15 Flying-boat, which was then in production at Hiro, this hull was an all-metal semi-monocque structure instead of a wooden one, with a rounded contour upper surface to meet the hull bottom instead of flared chines beyond the straight sides of the earlier hulls. This was an aerodynamic improvement that was incorporated in all Japanese flying-boats from that time onwards. The wings and tail surfaces were also all-metal with fabric covering. By the autumn of 1930, the first prototype was completed and submitted for Navy testing.

A serious incident occurred while test flying the second prototype when a fuel line ruptured and the aircraft caught fire. Lieut Saburo Wada hastily alighted near the beaching ramp at the Hiro Arsenal where the crew safely evacuated but the aircraft was lost.

After further development, the aircraft was officially adopted by the Navy as the Type 89 Flying-boat in March 1932. Production was begun not only at Hiro, but by Aichi and Kawanishi, In the case of Kawanishi, it produced major sub-assemblies for Hiro produced Type 89 Flying-boats.

The Type 89 (short designation H2H1) was regarded as a very functional aircraft and remained in service for a long time, together with the Type 15 Flying-boats, although production was relatively small. In practical terms, the Type 89 was really an all-metal structured version of the Type 15, with similar dimensions and only a slight increase in weight, and served the Navy from the time of the Shanghai Incident to the early stages of the Sino-Japanese conflict. These were the last of the Japanese twin-engined biplane flying-boats.

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Hiro Kaigun Ko-sho (Hiro Naval Arsenal).
Type: Twin-engined reconnaissance flying-boat.
Crew (6 later version 10):
Powerplant: two 550 hp Hiro Type 14 or 600-750 hp Hiro Type 90 twelve-cylinder W-type water-cooled engines, driving four-blade wooden propellers.
Armament: One twin flexible bow-mounted 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns, one flexible mid-ship 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-gun each side. Bomb-load: two 250 kg 551 lb) bombs.
Dimensions: Span (early version) 22.14 m (72 ft 7 3/4 in), (late version) 22.12 m (72 ft 7 in); length (early version) 16.283 m (53 ft 1 1/4 in), (late version) 16.25 m (53 ft 3 3/4 in); height (early version) 6.13 m (20 ft 1 1/4 in), (late version) 5.96 m (19 ft 6 3/4 in); wing area 120.5 sq m (1,297.093 sq ft).
Weights: Empty (early version) 4,368 kg (9,629 lb), (late version) 4,370 kg (9,634 lb); loaded 6,500 kg (14,330 lb); wing loading 53.9 kg/sq m (11 lb/sq ft); power loading(early version) 5.415 kg/hp (11.9 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed (early version) 103.6 kt (119 mph), (late version) 106 kt (122 mph); cruising speed (early version) 70 kt (80.5 mph) at 1,000 m (3,280 ft); alighting speed (early version) 52.6 kt (60.5 mph); climb to 3,000 m (9,843 ft) (early version) in 19 min; service ceiling (early version) 4,320 m (14,173 ft), (late version) 4,000 m (13,123 ft); endurance (early version) 14 1/2 hr, (late version) 13 hr.
Production: A total of 13 Type 89 Flying-boats were built as follows:

Hiro Kaigun Ko-sho and Kawanishi Kokuki KK:

2 prototypes and 11 production aircraft from 1930

Aichi Tokei Denki KK:

4 - production aircraft from 1931

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