Aviation of World War II

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Long-Range Courier Aircraft

Tachikawa Ki-77

The Tachikawa Ki-77 is a Japanese experimental courier transport aircraft, conceived in 1940 as a record aircraft for a flight from Tokyo to New York with a range of 15,000 km.

Structurally, it was a low-wing wing with a laminar profile and high aspect ratio, with two radial engines made according to the double star scheme. The tricycle landing gear with a tail wheel was completely retractable. In the middle part of the aerodynamically clean fuselage with a single-fin tail, a salon for 6 passenger seats was equipped. The aircraft's altitude system made it possible to fly at altitudes of 6000-8000 m. The fuel tanks in the wing held 11,155 liters of fuel, while the total refueling was 11,600 liters.

The aircraft made its first flight on November 18, 1942. The flight characteristics fully satisfied the customer, but the nacelles had to be altered several times for normal engine cooling.

Tachikawa Ki-77
Crew 5
Wing span, m 29.44
Wing area, m² 79.56
Length, m 15.30
Height, m 3.85
2 × PE Nakajima Na-115, power takeoff/flight, hp. 2 × 1170/1000
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 1,930
Gross weight 2,300
Maximum speed, km/h 440
Cruising speed, km/h 300
Rate of climb, m/min 250
Service ceiling, m 8,700
Service range, km 18,000

After solving all the problems, on April 20-21, 1943, a non-stop flight was made from the factory airfield near Tokyo to Singapore, the plane covered the distance of 5330 km in 19 hours 13 minutes.

The second prototype was flown around a month later. He was being prepared for a flight to Germany. The plane started on July 7, 1943, but disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean, presumably being shot down by British fighters. The lack of weapons turned out to be fatal and the military had to abandon it, while the third prototype remained unfinished.

On the first prototype aircraft, the Japanese decided to carry out an unofficial attempt to break the world record for flight range along a closed route. The Sinking-Peichenggu-Harbin triangle over the cities of Manchuria with a length of 865 km was chosen. The launch took place on July 2, 1944 from the Sinking airfield, the aircraft, in 57 hours 12 minutes, having made 19 flights along a closed route, covered a distance of 16 435 km *, which allowed the Japanese to establish a new, albeit unofficial, world achievement in flight range.

Having survived the war, the plane was sent to the United States, where, after passing a series of tests, it was eventually disassembled.

* note - the remaining fuel allowed the aircraft to fly 1600 km, confirming the declared practical range of 18,000 km.

Photo Description
Drawing Tachikawa Ki-77

Drawing Tachikawa Ki-77


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering " /Aerospace Publising/
  • " Aviation of Japan. "/ Andrey Firsov /