Donnerstag, 9. Dezember 2010

The Captain's on board now!

So everything's in the green. As you can see, some young hotheads are arguing about some "...(ancient)  grey-haired html web 1.0" of the former Things with Wings website.
Well, I am the (little, very little) grey-haired creator of this web 1.0 ARTWORK. too stumbled into web 2.0 meanwhile and I agree with my hot-headed son. Yes.
Let me introduce myself: I am the CAPTAIN. Period. Adjust your backrest in the upright position.
We are ready for takeoff. And please remember: this is my very first post in a blog.
About 10 years ago, this term didn't even exist. No reason to worry. Just lean back and relax.
We're on full throttle now...AAAAAAND......liftoff - we're AIRBORNE!
To start, I like to turn back the clock into the year 2005. We've met quite some spots on earth in the past.
That's why I decided to start the series with "Letters from..."
And here comes "Letters from Kagoshima - part 1". Kagoshima is located in southern Japan on Kyushu island. It was the home base for NAC Nippon Airship Corporation's Zeppelin NT airship.
November 2005 was the first time I was engaged in the work on that airship in Japan. On the first day off NAC led us to the town of Chiran. Famous in the region for the Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots and the Samurai Residents and Gardens. Very very impressive! More about that later.
For now I just add some photos taken at the museum. Remember: it's NOT allowed to take photos at the memorial. I knew that and I did not take notice of this until a friendly lady told me not to take photos inside the museum. I want to express to the Japanese people that I am sorry for that. I did not take photos of last letters and other heartbreaking exhibits - just of the planes. I was fully aware of the special spirit of that place!
I am Josef Hueber - this is your captain speakin' :-)

This wreck of a Mitsubishi A6M Zero was recovered from the sea near Teuti Ura (also known as Teuchi-kõ) on Shimo Koshiki Island ca. 90 km west of Kagoshima / Kyushu in the East China Sea.
Impressive view into the cockpit section. Standing there, it is the moment you start to look not only on a piece of twisted and rotten metal. The place begins to change, the human beings connected to this drama begin to rise. Who was the pilot sitting there on his last and fatal run? What felt his mother and his father when they had to learn about the death of their child? Memories of the past arising - a child playing with a cat - the smell of a peaceful summer evening in a rural village - far away from future war and grief... Standing there is a very intimate situation. I couldn't stop staring at the empty pilot's seat. I felt a bit like an intruder of someone unknown's private sphere. In a very pensive mood I continued my tour through the memorial ("museum" is not correct).
The peace memorial is located on the former Chiran Air Base. From here, a lot more than 1000 young pilots were sent to Okinawa on their fatal missions. Along the roads to Chiran and in the village itself a never ending gallery of stone lanterns commemorates each of the victims. Victims of history.
Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate
This plane was captured by U.S. troops at Clark Field on the Philippines in 1945, then transported to the United States for evaluation. Sold as surplus in 1952 to Edward Maloney, restored to flying condition, then exhibition at Ed Maloney's Planes of Fame Museum. In 1978 the Hayate was returned to Japan. After displayed at the Kyoto based Arashyama Museum (meanwhile shut-down) until the early nineties, this Classic Samurai found it's final rest at Chiran.

For us German visitors a remarkable exhibit: a Japanese built Ha-40 inline power plant based on the Daimler-Benz DB-601 engine. It was (together with the later Ha-140 DB-605 based) the only mass-produced inline engine for Japanese war planes. These engineering art works were quite tricky to produce - not easy for a decentralized mass-production war time industry serving a wide spread army.
Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien
Impressive exhibit of the final salut to a Kamikaze pilot...

The later production of the Hien was troubled by the bombing raids of the B-29s. 
The type on exhibition is a Kawasaki Ki-61-ll-KAI "Hien" equipped with a Ha-140 engine based on the Daimler-Benz DB-605. Probably this plane was reverted back to the Ki-61-l "TEI"-wing with stretched fuselage and enlarged rudder - due to it's former role as a high flying interceptor against the ever increasing B-29 "B-san". Even some ramming units were established. By the way: The Japanese Army didn't call them "Kamikaze".

This A6M pin was dedicated to us by Watanabe san to Fabian and me when we visited the Peace Memorial a second time in July 2007 after completion of another Zeppelin job at NAC's Kagoshima hangar. After that we went on to Okinawa to visit a friend and the Itoman Peace Memorial.

Stay tuned to our next post, which will be a more peaceful one...



Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen