Harvard MK-IV Conversion*
- Max Speed: 205 mph
- Cruising Speed: 150 mph
- Range: 750 miles
- Service Ceiling: 21,500 feet
- Wingspan: 42′ 1/4″
- Length: 28′ 11″
- Height: 11′ 8″
- Weight: 5,250lbs
7.7mm machine guns over the engine cowl, a 20mm canon on each wing
Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1
This Zero, N7757 is probably best described as a Movie Star. She owes her existence to the 20th Century Fox movie company who in 1968 needed Japanese airplanes for the filming of their epic film, “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, which portrays events leading to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941
One of the most significant aircraft in the Japanese Navy was the A6M2 Zero, also known as a Zeke, a fighter aircraft whose performance was so superior to anything in the United States inventory, and perhaps the world, that the Japanese Empire was confident they could control the entire Pacific with their air superiority. While over 10,000 Zeros were produced, their losses during the war, and the requirement included in the Japanese Surrender Agreement signed in August 1945 that all of Japan’s offensive weapons be destroyed, made unavailable any authentic Japanese war planes for documentary and film production.
20th Century Fox commissioned to have readily available American war birds converted to closely resemble those of the Japanese Navy. N7757 started life as a Harvard Mark IV, a Canadian version of the venerable North American T-6 advanced trainer. The attention to detail in the conversion to an A6M2-21 Zero included the addition of 7.7mm machine guns over the engine cowl, a 20mm canon on each wing, and a cockpit canopy modified to the specifications of the original Zero. Even the detail of adding the three bladed prop, a tail arresting hook, and converting the formerly fixed tail wheel to a fully functional retractable tail wheel were accomplished. The final product so closely resembles the Japanese Zero of WWII, in both size and form, only a trained eye can tell the difference.
In addition to the film “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, N7757 also appears in the films Midway, and War and Remembrance, and all episodes of the TV series, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Television and video documentary appearances include Yesterdays Warbirds Today, and the Japanese feature production, “Zero”. Until 2004, N7757 remained in California performing her movie/TV star duties appearing at air shows and as part of a flying WWII museum. The Zero also appeared in the 2006 History Channel presentation of the documentary “Days that Shook the World”. It was also the cover photo on the 2nd July 2005 issue of Trade-A-Plane.
The Zero’s most recent film credit was the GPB TV film production documentary of WWII Flying Ace: Robert L. Scott, filmed in 2011, in which Jack flies the Zero against the P40, just as it was in China just prior to WWII. Click HERE to watch this documentary.
This aircraft is on loan to the Heritage Flight Museum from Greg Anders’ Lost Aviators of Pearl Harbor. To learn more visit http://www.lostaviatorsofpearlharbor.org.