A6M Zero The Fighter That Changed Dogfights – Texas Flying Legends Flyby
Texas Flying Legends
There is much to say the about the legendary fighter, the A6M Zero. It was a plane which would inspire fear and respect in its enemies. The Zero would evolve from the Mitsubishi A5M which was already an innovative fighter in the eyes of many pilots. During its first combat mission, 12 Japanese AM5 fighters engaged over 40 Chinese Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and managed to shoot down all of them without losing a single plane.
Designers at Mitsubishi were given the difficult task of improving a plane that already revolutionized aerial combat. Rising to the challenge was Jiro Horikoshi who led the team to create the most powerful fighter yet. Speed, weaponry, and turn radius were key factors but balancing them out without sacrificing another was a challenge.
“Bombers in the 30s were becoming faster and faster. Biplane fighters were barely able to keep up. Some experts thought fighters were now irrelevant. From a pilot’s perspective, he expects to fight other fighters in the air. When other fighters engaged each other, it inevitably became a turning fight. The plane that could turn tighter would be the winner.”
– Torikai Tsuruo (Chief Director of Fuji Aviation Technology)
After several years of trial and effort, the A6M Zero was born and would change dogfights forever. It could climb high enough to attack bombers, enough fuel for long-range missions and maneuverability to outpace enemy fighters in the combat. The A6M Zero led the charge on Pearl Harbor destroying five Navy vessels and over 200 aircraft.
The Texas Flying Legends know a thing or two about paying respect to great aircraft. The terror of the pacific now entertains a crowd of onlookers who marvel at its amazing loops through the air. Skills that once were deadly to enemy pilots are now drawing applause as you can see in this clip.