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Site 5, Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero

Click on any of the below pictures for full resolution

Luis Burnoon, one of the local land owners and former airport manager, knew of an intact Zero in the jungle, so we dove off of the runway and into the jungle to find it.

 
 
 
 

Here Francis Reg, a Yap HPO employee, and Luis hack their way through the jungle looking for the Zero. I have often heard of these types of stories, a relatively intact plane somewhere. 9 time out of 10 they prove unfounded.

 
 
 
Luis throws up his hands
in frustration...
"I know I saw it in here a couple years ago!"
 
 
 
 
 

Francis:
"Ah, we are never going to find it!"

Well we didn't find the Zero Luis remembered, but we did find 3 other Zeros! Two were fairly complete.

 
 
 

Here is the first of three. See it through the brush?

On the right I am saying I think there's a Zero in here!

 
 
 

Compare the photo on the left to the one directly above it, they are before and after vegetation removal. The other three photos are of the cockpit I was poking my head into above.

 
 
 
 

Looking into the planter box, er, I mean cockpit.

 
 
 
 
I am more used to using a trowel for excavating, but a machete worked quite well for removing the inch plus of dirt that was on the wings.  This was what all of the plant life was growing in. See below.

The wing is outlined in red, and this was after trimming (or should I say mowing) the vegetation down.
This is the left wing looking at it from the front inboard side.

The soil, which was essentially decomposing organic mater, was a haven for plant life, which in turn was causing rapid decomposition of the plane's structure.
 
 
 
  The left wing again, but looking from the rear outboard side. We had cleared around the outboard fuel tank, a feature that only later model Zeros had.
 
 
 
This is the right wing, outboard rear view, after clearing off the vegetation and duff.  
     
  Right wing, outboard front view. The landing gear is down and the plane is standing on it. The gear is visible just to the left of the handheld white board.
 
 
 
Of particular interest was this bullet hole that had been patched over during this Zero's combat life.  
 
 
 
The engine was hidden in the brush about 10 meters away.
 
 
 
Two more views of the engine. The "extractor" exhaust helps identify the Zero as a late model.
 
 
 
The tail was located in a bomb crater approximately 20 meters from the fuselage.

 


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