Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Navy Type Hansa Reconnaissance Seaplane

After the First World War, the Japanese Navy received from Germany a Hansa-Brandenburg W 29 [see correction below] reconnaissance seaplane as part of her share of War Reparations. By 1922, the Navy had decided to adopt this aircraft as standard equipment and placed orders for their production by Nakajima and Aichi. The original Hansa seaplane, designed by Dr. Ernst Heinkel, was considered to be very advanced structurally and have excellent performance. To make it better suited to Japanese needs, modifications were made in the Nakajima production model.

The Navy Type Hansa was a single-engined twin-float low-wing monoplane of wooden construction with fabric covered wings and tail, with a plywood covered fuselage.

The Type Hansa was adopted to replace the Yokosuka (Yokosho) Navy Type Ro-go Ko-gata Reconnaissance Seaplane. This was the Navy's first shipboard low-wing monoplane. They were easily identifiable by their unusual tail configuration, having the vertical surfaces below the tailplane.

Pilots who flew these aircraft disliked their water-handling because of poor directional control and inadequate downward visibility. They also had other shortcomings.

These were the first reconnaissance seaplanes carried to be carried on the battleship Nagato, beginning in 1926. Many remained in service until around 1927 - 1928 when they were replaced by the Yokosho and Nakajima-built Type 14 and Type 15 Reconnaissance Seaplanes.

When the Hansa became surplus to requirements the Ando Aeroplane Research Studio and Japan Air Transport Research Association converted some of them into three-five seat passenger aircraft.

Technical Data
Type: Single-engined twin-float reconnaissance seaplane.
Crew (2): Pilot and observer/gunner in open cockpits.
Powerplant: One 170 - 210 hp Mitsubishi Type Hi (Hispano-Suiza) twelve-cylinder vee water-cooled engine, driving a two-blade wooden propeller.
Armament: One flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-gun mounted in open dorsal cockpit.
Dimensions: Span 13,57 m (44 ft 6 1/4 in); length 9.287 m (30 ft 5 1/2 in); height 2.996 m (9 ft 10 in); wing area 31.3 sq m (336.921 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 1,470 kg (3,240 lb); loaded 2,100 kg (4,629 lb); wing loading 67.1 kg/sq m (13.7 lb/sq ft); power loading 10.5 kg/hp (13.7 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 91 kt (104.7 mph); climb to 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in 23 min; service ceiling 4,500 m (14,763 ft).
Production: Approximately 310 Navy Type Hansa aircraft were built as follows:

Nakajima Hikoki Seisakusho:

160 - Navy Type Hansa aircraft between 1922-1925.

Aichi Tokei Denki Kabushiki Kaisha.

150 - Navy Type Hansa aircraft.


  1. From my own checking through various online resources (ja.wikipedia, few others), I believe that this plane was derived not from the W.33, but the W.29.

  2. I am quite ready to be corrected but...

    Yokosuka Navy Type Hansa Reconnaissance Seaplane
    Approximately 310 aircraft directly derived from the W.33, built by Nakajima and Aichi for the Imperial Japanese Navy[2]
    Mikesh, Robert and Shorzoe Abe. Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941. London: Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-840-2 This is my source too.

    Imperial Japanese Navy - Used as Hanza-shiki suijō teisatsuki(ハンザ式水上偵察機, Type Hansa Surveillance Floatplane) and manufactured by Nakajima Aircraft Company and Aichi Kokuki.

    Isnt this an earlier (abet very very similar aircraft)

    1. The W.29 was manufactured in the same year as the W.33.

      According to the W.33 Wikipedia article, though, there were only a handful of W.33 that were actually built, and none licensed at the time. There's no mention in any sources of those W.33 being exported to Japan. The W.29 article, though, along with multiple other sources, says that not only did Japan receive an allotment of W.29 for war reparations, but Ernst Heinkel came to Japan to negotiate licensed production for the W.29. The ja.wikipedia article also cites the W.29 as the lineage for the Type Hansa.

  3. Yes ja.wikipedia does indeed leading to articles saying W 29.
    Thank You for correction.