YouTube – Kawasaki Ki-61
DB 601A in-line V12
2- 20 mm
2- 12.7 mm
29 ft. 4 in.
39 ft. 5 in.
The Kawasaki Ki-61, called Hien (Allied code name Tony), was the only Japanese front line fighter aircraft produced during World War II with an in-line engine. The Daimler Benz 601A engine of the aircraft was built under license.
When Allied pilots first encountered the Kawasaki Ki-61, they thought it was a new design of German or Italian origins. In fact, the origin of the aircraft dates back to 1923 when the Kawasaki Aircraft Engineering Company had a German, Dr. Richard Vogt, as its chief designer.
Although in line engines have been successfully used by many aircraft, the radial was preferred overall.
The primary advantage of using an in line engine in an aircraft is the ability to lessen drag by narrowing and streamlining the nose.
The radial engine was generally simpler to maintain and proved more reliable than in line engines of similar power.
A drawback of in line engines is that they are liquid cooled. That usually means additional weight and a cooling system that could be disabled by a hit during combat.
The robust crank shafts of radial engines can be made shorter than those of in line engines. The shorter crank shafts need fewer bearings than the longer ones of in line engines. Radial engines also tend to vibrate less than in line engines. This results in less overall airframe wear. Their overall length, being shorter than in line engines, results in a single engine aircraft that has a shorter nose to see over.
The more streamlined design of the Kawasaki Ki-61 enabled it to have a higher speed than aircraft equipped with radial engines with the same power output. This was particularly apparent to Allied pilots who observed the excellent zoom climb of the aircraft when it was first introduced in August of 1942. Allied pilots also found that they no longer could out dive their opposition. However, in time, the Kawasaki Ki-61 was outclassed with the introduction of more modern Allied fighter aircraft.
Over 3,150 Kawasaki Ki-61 aircraft were built.
RC Kawasaki Ki-61
The RC Kawasaki Ki-61 from VQ Model is an ARF with a wingspan of 62 in. and a length of 49 In. It needs .61 two cycle, .91 four cycle engines, or a KMS 4120/07 brushless motor. All up weight is about 6 1/2 lbs.
The RC Kawasaki Ki-61 from FMS has a wingspan of 39.7 in. with a length of 29.2 in. Included are a 3648-KV770 motor flaps and retracts. All-up weight is around 2 1/2 lbs.
You can find plans in the PSS Model Plans Directory for a RC Kawasaki Ki-61 slope soarer. It has a 71 in. wingspan and uses ailerons, rudder and elevator controls.
RCM has plans for a 61 in. wingspan RC Kawasaki Ki-61. It will need .40 to .60 engines for power. Danny Reiss is the designer.
Kit cutters has short kits, full kits, or plans for sale of two sizes of the giant scale RC Kawasaki Ki-61 designed by Don Smith. The smaller has a wingspan of 86 in. with a fuselage that is 64 in. long. You will need a 1.8 c.i.d. engine to power it. The larger has a wingspan of 100 in. and is 74 in. long. Recommended power can come from a 2.1 c.i.d. engine.