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The Nakajima Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center

Updated on June 20, 2016
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The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016.A Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, April 1992.A Nakajima Kikka, 1945.The Smithsonian's Kikka at Patuxent River NAS, 1946.An Ne-20 engine at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles, VA, June 4, 2010.The National Air & Space Museum's Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, Silver Hill, MD, July 1983.The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016.
The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016.
The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016. | Source
A Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, April 1992.
A Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, April 1992. | Source
A Nakajima Kikka, 1945.
A Nakajima Kikka, 1945. | Source
The Smithsonian's Kikka at Patuxent River NAS, 1946.
The Smithsonian's Kikka at Patuxent River NAS, 1946. | Source
An Ne-20 engine at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles, VA, June 4, 2010.
An Ne-20 engine at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles, VA, June 4, 2010. | Source
The National Air & Space Museum's Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, Silver Hill, MD, July 1983.
The National Air & Space Museum's Kikka at the Paul E. Garber Facility, Silver Hill, MD, July 1983. | Source
The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016.
The Kikka at the Udvar-Hazy Center, June 18, 2016. | Source

The Nakajima Kikka

The National Air and Space Museum’s collection includes a Nakajima Kikka “Orange Blossom”. When Japanese military attaches in Germany witnessed Messerschmitt Me-262 test flights they informed the Japanese Naval Staff of the Me-262’s capabilities.[i] Nakajima received specifications for an aircraft based on the Me-262’s design for an aircraft with a top speed of 432 mph, a 127 mile range with a 500 kilogram bomb load, and 173 miles with a 250 kilogram bomb load.[ii]

Kazuo Ohno and Kenichi Matsumura designed the Kikka. The Kikka’s control surfaces are fabric covered. On August 7, 1945, the day after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the only air worthy Kikka made its first flight. Lieutenant Commander Susumu Takaoka piloted the aircraft. He attempted a second flight on August 11 but had to abort takeoff. The Kikka crashed into Tokyo Bay which caused damage to its landing gear. The ground crew caused the mishap by mounting the aircraft’s rocket assist engines at an incorrect angle.[iii] That was the last attempt to fly the Nakajima Kikka.

According to The National Air & Space Museum their Nikka was made for load testing rather than flight testing. The engine nacelles are too small for the Nikka’s Ne-20 engines.[iv] The museum housed their Nikka at the Paul E. Garber facility in Silver Hill, Maryland for decades. The Smithsonian housed in its Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger at the Udvar-Hazy Center.[v] It has been moved to the main hanger with the other World War II aircraft.


[i] Messerschmitt Me 262: Arrow to the Future, by Walter J. Boyne © 1980 Smithsonian Institution.

[ii] Nakajima J9Y1 Kikka by Francisco Carlos Soldán Alfaro(http://hsfeatures.com/kikkafs_1.htm)

[iii] National Air & Space Museum web site (http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=nasm_A19610121000)

[iv] National Air & Space Museum web site (http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?object=nasm_A19610121000)

[v] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIdFo-TSNZkv

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A P-51 at the National Air & Space Museum.An Me-262 at the National Air & Space Museum
A P-51 at the National Air & Space Museum.
A P-51 at the National Air & Space Museum. | Source
An Me-262 at the National Air & Space Museum
An Me-262 at the National Air & Space Museum | Source

The Nikka’s Capabilities

The Nikka’s Capabilities

The Nikka’s top speed was comparable to a 1944 vintage piston engine fighter. It was about 30mph slower than the Allied 1945 vintage piston engine fighters. The P-51H had a top speed of 487 mph.[i] Despite its smaller size its wing loading was comparable to the Me-262. The Nikka's mission was to be a fast attack bomber. This was to include suicide bombing missions.[ii]

The jet engines slung under the wings meant had better engines become available they could have been fitted to the Nikka without an airframe redesign. The state of Japanese jet engine development at the time made it unlikely they would have developed engines significantly better than the Ne-20 engines. It is also unlikely Japan could have deployed the aircraft in time for the Allied invasion scheduled to begin November 1, 1945.


[i] Fighting Mustang: The Chronicle of the P-51 by William N. Hess© 1970. Page170.

[ii] Hikoki: 1946 (http://j-aircraft.org/xplanes/hikoki_files/kikka.html)

Nikka Comparison

 
Me-262
Nikka
P-51D
Static Thrust or Horsepower
3,960lb Static Thrust
3,528lb Static Trust
1,695hp
Loaded Weight
14,101lb
8,710lb
10,100lb
Max Speed
540mph
432mph
437mph
Rate of Climb
3,937'/min
1,237'/min
3,475'/min
Wing Loading
60'/sq.ft.
61'/sq.ft.
43'/ft.sq.
Range
526miles
1,105miles
2,080miles
Armament
4x30mm cannons
2x30mm cannons
6x0.5" Machine Guns
Source for Me-262 & P-51D: Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Mike Spick (c) 1996 Source for Nikka: Wikipedia

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 10 days ago

      Thank you for the suggestion. It never occurred to me to attempt such a project. Maybe I should give it some thought.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 11 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Have you ever thought of combining all of this information and making it into a book? It would make a great reference book of the different types of aircraft and how they were used.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 18 months ago

      There will be no pop quizes :-) Thank you for reading. I am glad you find the airplane Hubs interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      As you said, most of the WWII generation is quickly dying off. We owe much to them and it is nice that they have been labeled by Tom Brokow's book as "The Greatest Generation." I am certainly learning more about airplanes than I ever previously knew by reading your hubs. As long as there will be no pop quiz, I am fine. Ha!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Thank you. Yes, the World War II generation did cast a giant shadow and they are riding riding off into the sunset. Hopefully, enough has been recorded about them that future generations will never forget what their story.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      My father-in-law was a P-51 pilot in WW2, and I'm a private pilot. We sure did enjoy talking flight. I miss him.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image
      Author

      Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

      Yes, they also built a copy of an Me-163 rocket fighter. The pilot was killed on a test flight. Thank you.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I didn't know that Japan had a jet in that era. Good Hub!