Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thalia and Thelma

Ki.56, Kawasaki 'Thalia' (Army Type 1 Freight Transport)
This was a development of the Lockheed 14, but both bigger and lighter, and generally
superior. 121 were built.
Type: Ki.56
Function: transport
Year: 1941 Crew: 4 Engines: 2 * 990hp Nakajima Ha-25
Speed: 400km/h Ceiling: 8000m Range:
Load: 2400kg
In Sep 1939, while Kawasaki was gearing up to build the modified Model 14 described above, the JAAF Air Headquarters told Kawasaki to design an improved version of the aircraft. Designated Ki-56, the emphasis was on improved take-off characteristics and a larger cargo capacity. Without assistance from Lockheed, the Kawasaki engineers lengthened the fuselage by 4 feet 11 inches (1.5 m) vs 5 feet 6 inches (1.58 m) on the Model 18; they also redesigned the Fowler flaps to increase efficiency, the tailplanes were retained in the original location of the Model 14 atop the rear fuselage, the Ki-56 had a large cargo door, with a small passenger door, on the port side of the fuselage, the weight of the wing structure was reduced, and it was powered by two 950 hp Nakajima Ha-25 (Army Type 99) radial engines. The first two production aircraft were completed in Nov 40, and after further testing, production was ordered and 119 additional Army Type 1 Freight Transports were delivered between Aug 41 and Sep 43. This aircraft received the Allied Code Name THALIA.

LO, Tachikawa 'Thelma'
License-built Lockheed 14. 119 built.
Type: LO
Function: transport
Year: Crew: 3 Engines: 2 * 660kW Mitsubishi Ho-26-I
Speed: 418km/h Ceiling: Range:
Load: 12 seats
In 1939, Tachikawa exercised its license rights and submitted a proposal to the Japanese Army Air Force to build a modified Model 14 powered by two 900 hp Mitsubishi Ha-26-I (Army Type 99 radial Model 1) 14-cylinder radial engines. A total of 119 of these aircraft, designated Army Type LO Transport, were built by Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK (55 machines built 1940- 41) and Tachikawa (64 aircraft built 1940-42) and were given the Allied Code Name THELMA.
Japan turned out to be the largest user of the Super Electra. Thirty Super Electras were sold to the Tachikawa Hikoki KK (Tachikawa Aeroplane Co Ltd of Japan, which acted as an agent for Nihon Koku KK (Japan Air Transport Co. Ltd.). This airline was later renamed Dai Nippon Koku KK (Greater Japan Air Lines), and became the largest commercial user of the Super Electra. This version of the Super Electra was known as Model 14-WG3B, and was powered by two Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G3B radials, rated at 900 hp for takeoff and 840 hp at 8000 feet. The Tachikawa company also obtained a license to build a version of the Super Electra in Japan. Production for the Imperial Japanese Army was undertaken both by Tachikawa and by Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK (Kawasaki Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. These companies respectively built 64 and 55 aircraft between 1940 and 1942. They were powered by Mitsubishi Ha-26-I (900 hp Army Type 99 Radial Model 1) engines. In Japanese army service, they were designated Army Type LO Transports, and were operated as military transports during the Pacific War. The Allies assigned the code name *Thelma* to the Japanese-built version and the name *Toby* to the civilian versions purchased from Lockheed.

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