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Ki-56 Thalia
Transport Aircraft

Ki-56 Thalia

In the 30s, the United States was the undisputed leader in the commercial aircraft industry, creating a series of Douglas DC-2 and DC-3 passenger aircraft and transport aircraft and the Lockheed Electra high-speed aircraft. In early 1939, by order of the army, the Tachikawa company entered into a licensing agreement with Lockheed for the production of American aircraft in Japan. The model "Super Electra" L14-WG3B was used as a sample.

"Type Lo" Thelma. In 1940, the aircraft was adopted by the Japanese army under the designation "Type Lo Transport aircraft" *. Structurally, the aircraft was a twin-engine monoplane of an all-metal structure with retractable landing gear.

The Japanese car turned out to be identical to the American one, while the Japanese 14-cylinder radial engines Mitsubishi Ha-26-I, 10 hp, were installed on it. from. exceeding the power of the American Wright GR-1820-G3B, but in comparison with the American ones with more weight.

Since January 1941, the production of an early version of the "Type Lo" at Kawasaki was phased out after the release of 55 copies and the plant completely switched to production of the Ki-56. Production of "Type Lo" at Tachikawa continued until 1942 and ended with the release of only 45 copies, ie. a total of 100 Type Lo aircraft were produced.

Ki-56 Thalia. The production of the aircraft was additionally launched at the Kawasaki company. Takeo Doi took over the improvement of the aircraft on Kawasaki. The weight of the wing structure was reduced, the Fowler flaps were redesigned. The length of the fuselage was increased by 1.5 m with an increase in capacity to 16 passengers or 14 soldiers or 10 paratroopers. A large cargo hatch with a door was installed on the left side, a cargo winch was placed in the cabin, the aircraft could carry up to 2,400 kg of cargo. The power plant became more powerful and consisted of two Nakajima Na-25 engines of 990 hp each. Two prototypes were ready by the fall of 1940, the aircraft was designated Ki-56.

Production of the Ki-56 at Kawasaki continued until the summer of 1943. A total of 121 Ki-56s were produced, including two prototypes.

* Note admin. - under the abbreviation "Lo" was designated the firm Lockheed, which is the copyright holder for the design of the Japanese aircraft.

Kawasaki Тип "Ро" Ki-56
Crew 3 3-4
Wing span, m 19.96
Wing area, m² 51.19 51.20
Length, m 13.51 14.90
Height, m 3.48 3.60
2×PE Na-26-I Na-25
power, hp 2×850 2×990
Weights and loads, kg
Empty weight 4870 4672
Loaded weight 7900 8030
Maximum speed at altitude, km/h 418 398
Cruising speed, km/h 360 367
Rate of climb, m/min 237
Service ceiling, m 7500
Service range, km 3400 3300
Payload, passengers 10-12 14

Combat use. In view of the rather modest series of Japanese transporters, their participation in combat work was relatively limited, although it is estimated to be quite successful. It is known that during the landing on the oil fields in Palembang in Sumatra on February 14, 1942, 14 Ki-56 aircraft were equipped with the 3rd Chutai (squadron) of the 1st Teishin Sentai, an airborne regiment. Later, Ki-56s with the emblem of the 1st Teishin Sentai - a stylized unit in a circle - were found in different parts of the Japanese Empire, involved in transport operations.

Due to its comfort, high reliability, the Ki-56, like the Type Lo, was chosen by the top leadership of the army as a personal transport. According to many experts, the Japanese Ki-56 was superior to its American classmate Lockheed C-60 Lodestar in some respects.

The allies have given the plane a code name - Thalia, "Thalia", the previous "Type Lo" - Thelma, "Thelma".

It is known that a pair of Ki-56s became Soviet trophies. After the war, they came to the disposal of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and were operated for some time in the Far East, until both were defeated in disasters on March 28 and December 7, 1946.

Photo Description

Drawing Ki-56


  • Japan Transport Aviation. / Evgeny Aranov /
  • Japan Aviation. /A. Firsov /
  • World War II Japanese aircraft. /Oleg Doroshkevich /
  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /

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Trophy Ki-56, killed in the crash on December 7, 1946 at the airport Berelykh, Khabarovsk Territory. In the event of a failure of one engine, not having a sufficient height, the commander of Zimze, Alexei Yulievich, made the wrong decision to return to the airfield and, when turning, allowed a loss of speed. In addition to 4 crew members, 3 passengers were killed - a mine rescuer, who flew on assignment.