Aviation of World War II

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Light Transport Aircraft


Ki-59 Theresa . The prototype of the new aircraft made its maiden flight at the end of 1940. As a result of tests, some changes were introduced into the design - the shape of the nose was changed to improve the pilot's view, the vertical tail area was increased and the shape of the landing gear fairings was changed. In this form, in July 1941, the aircraft was adopted by the Japanese army, receiving the designation - Army transport Type 1 or the short designation Ki-59.

Despite the rather archaic appearance and low dynamic characteristics, the Ki-59 was quite consistent with the intended tasks. With its much smaller dimensions than the Ki-34 and half the powerful engines, the Ki-59 lifted almost the same weight, and flew only slightly slower.

However, the outbreak of the war soon after the adoption of the new machine greatly changed the views of the army leadership on the Ki-59. There was simply nowhere to work at short distances, for which the aircraft was designed. In addition, the low speed and lack of defensive weapons made the Ki-59 an easy target for any enemy. As a result, the only use of the aircraft was the functions of staff transport deep in the rear. To top it all off, the production capabilities of the Nihon Kokusai Koku Kogyo KK company (in 1941 Terada's company merged capital with Kokusai Kokuki KK) did not allow the mass production of their brainchild. The maximum that the company could offer was one plane per month. This was clearly not enough. The firm was unable to significantly increase the aircraft production. As a result, at the beginning of 1943, the production of the Ki-59 was discontinued on the 20th machine (according to other sources, 59 copies were built), including the prototype (two more prototypes of the first version of the TK-3 should be added to this number). And the functions of a short-range transport aircraft began to be performed by the more advanced, versatile and much more massive Tachikawa Ki-54.

The allies received the code designation "Teresa". In total, 20 copies of the Ki-59 were built, in the future, its successful design served as a prototype for the Ku-8 landing glider.

Kokusai Ki-59
Crew 3
Wing span, m 16.79
Wing area, m² 38.40
Length, m 13.40
Height, m 3.05
2 × PE Army type 98 Hitachi Na-13a, hp 2 × 450
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 2880
Loaded weight 4120
Gross weight 4,240
Maximum speed, km/h 307
Cruising speed, km/h 276
Service ceiling, m
Service range, km 800
8 passengers or cargo, kg 1000

The service of the few Ki-59 transports took place far from the front, mainly in the metropolis. Only one case is known when a single Ki-59 was used to transfer an anti-tank gun to Palembang in Sumatra, where it was safely defeated on February 14, 1942. Most of them served as personal staff aircraft for the highest command personnel of the Imperial Army. Two planes were assigned to the Hokota flight school and one or two to Gifu. At least one Ki-59, having received a civil registration code, served with Manchurian Airlines.

Photo Description

Drawing Ki-59


  • Transport aviation of Japan / Evgeny Aranov /
  • Japan Aviation. World Aviation. Kokusai Ki.59 /de Agostini/
  • Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War /Rene J Francillion/