Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
Aircraft Series


Genesis and Development

War Prize

The Lean Years

Aircraft Identity

Colour Schemes

Power Plant



Zero and its Opponents

Preserved Zeros


References & Acknowledgments


Royal Thai Air Force Museum



All text material on this site is
© Peter Lewis
1985, 1999
unless otherwise acknowledged


Preserved Zeros

After the conclusion of the Pacific War, most surviving Japanese aircraft were destroyed where they lay, usually by burning. Those machines in more isolated areas were simply left to rot, often to be stripped for useful components by the indigenous population. Some examples were shipped to Allied homelands (principally America and Australia) for technical study, but by the 1950s most of these had been sold for scrap.
With the rise of interest in aviation history during the 1970s, the surviving examples of JNAF and JAAF aircraft were often repaired, restored, and placed on public display. Some further examples were recovered from battle zones and, in a few cases, renovated to high standards. There are doubtless many more still corroding in jungle areas or under the sea.

The accompanying list attempts to record all aircraft of the A6M series currently surviving in a substantially complete, protected and viewable state. Any additions to this list, clarification or elaboration of the information given here, and in particular photographs for inclusion on this page are eagerly sought and warmly welcomed.

AWM Zero A6M2-21 c/n 5784 - served with the JNAF in New Guinea, airframe moved to Australia in the 1970s. The Australian War Museum, Canberra & the RAAF rebuilt a display aircraft from these three incomplete airframes (the other two were 4043 and 3618) in the late 1980s, tail code V-173
When I saw this aircraft in January 1999, the project had been completed, and the machine was stored at the Truscott Technology Centre, Canberra, awaiting completion of the main IWM building renovations. The intention is to display it in the Museum when the building works are complete.

A6M2-22 c/n 3618 ex-Kahili airfield, Bougainville. Remains with Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

A6M2 c/n 5349 code BII-124 Centre-section and other remnants of aircraft shot down over Melville Island 19th February 1942. Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, Winnellie, NT, Australia

A6M3-22 c/n 3835/3844 code 2-182 ex Bougainville (composite) Auckland Institute & Museum
(see previous pages on this site)

code 30-1153 Pusat Tni-Anu Museum (Indonesian Air Force Museum), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Aircraft recovered from the Babo airfield, Irian Jaya, Indonesia
(Photo credit Angkasa/D.N.Yusuf ).

c/n 91518 (Nakajima built) code EII-102 Nobuo Harada, Kawaguchiko Motor Museum, Tokyo, Japan, who is rebuilding it to airworthy condition using A6M2 c/n 92717 (Nakajima built) as a parts source. Completion date for the project, which features the original Sakae 12 engine, is given as 'around the year 2000'. History of the airframe is unknown, but it will be painted up with the tailcode

c/n 4241 code 81-161 Nobuo Harada, Kawaguchiko Motor Museum, Tokyo, Japan. Restoration of this airframe (recovered from Rabaul in 1975) is complete, using parts from A6M5 c/n 1493 (Nakajima built). At this time, the project is stalled awaiting a set of restorable cylinder heads for the Sakae 21 engine. Since moved to the foyer of the Yasukuni shrine museum in Tokyo (Photo credit Tom Stepleton)


A6M2-21 c/n 31870 coded 53-122, a field-converted two-seater recovered from sea at Rabaul. It went to Australia for rebuild, and is now on display at National Science Museum in Tokyo, Japan

A6M5a c/n 4685 code 43-188 ex-Agana airfiield, Guam JSDAP, crashed 19th June 1944, recovered 1962, restored in Japan 1963. JASDF Hamamatsu-Minami Air Base Collection, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

A6M5a c/n 4708 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Komaki South Plant), Nagoya, Japan

A6M5c-52 Assembled from the remains of a A6M2 and a A6M5c recovered from the sea in 1992. JMSDF Kanoya Air Base, Kagoshima pref., Japan

A6M5c-52-Hei recovered from the sea at Teuchi Harbour, near Kagoshima. Displayed unrestored, Chiran Peace Museum, Kagoshima pref., Japan (also quoted as A6M7).

A6M3-32 code Y2-128 Aerospace Museum Nagoya Airport, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Said to be built up from 'several wrecks'.

A6M7 code 210-118B cockpit section ex-Lake Bewa. rest fabricated. Kure Marine Museum, Hiroshima Prefecture. Previously at Zero-Park Shirahama in Wakayama City and before that Kyoto-Arashiyama Museum.

A6M5 ex-Bansei airbase, Kagoshima Prefecture. Fukiagehama in Kaseda City, Japan

A6M5 Chinese Peoples Military Museum, Beijing, PRC. In storage, not on public view.

A6M2-21 c/n 51553 (5553?) code 313, A1-3-102 (Nakajima-built). USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH, USA. Fuselage built September 1943. Abandoned at Kavieng airstrip, New Ireland. Spent some time unrestored with Tom King in Australia, and then relocated into storage at RAAF Museum at Point Cook. Restored by Century Aviation in Washington, USA and placed on display at the museum September 2004.

A6M2-21 c/n 5450 code EII-140 National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, FL, USA (is this the Zero ex-Malmaluau, Rabaul ex Carrier 'Zuikakul; Ballale Island,. that was at USMO Museum, Quantico, VA ?)

A6M2-21 c/n 5451 (Nakajima built) code W1-150. Recovered from Ballale, Solomon Islands, 1960s. Cockpit section used in restoration of  5356. Rebuilt with parts from c/n 5356 by Robert Diemer. Some confusion exists over the c/n - 5355 and 5356 have been quoted. 5451 is alleged to be the front section.
Was flying with 1200hp P&W R-1830 motor as N58245 with Confederate Air Force, Midland, TX, USA, then to the CAF wing at Camarillo. Latest reports indicate that because major repairs were becoming necessary to maintain it's airworthy status, the aircraft was sold in late 2005 to the new Pacific Aviation Museum at Ford Island, Hawaii. Presumably it will be on static display there.

A6M3-32 c/n 3318 code Y2-128 Tom & John Sterling, Doise, ID, USA. Recovered in 1991 from Maloelap Atoll, Taroa, in the Marshall Islands, where it had served with the 252 Kokutai. Under restoration to airworthy with P&W R-1830 engine.

A6M3-32 c/n 3685 code Y2-176 stored unrestored with Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK. Recovered by Tom & John Sterling, Doise, ID, USA. Recovered along with c/n 3318.

A6M5-52 c/n 5357 (Nakajima-built) code 61-120, ex-Saipan. Planes of Fame Museum, Chino, CA, USA - flying with Sakae motor as NX46770

A6M5-52 c/n 4400(?) code HKI02 Captured at Truk 1944, shipped to USA and sold to Ed Maloney 1950. Planes of Fame Museum, chino, CA, USA - on display complete but said to be allocated civil registration N652Z

A6M5 c/n 4323 earlier reported at San Diego Aerospace Museum. Calif. - now untraced?

A6M5-52 c/n 4043 code 3-108 Recovered through Australia, where some parts were used in the restoration of c/n 5784. Weeks Air Museum, Florida, USA, display in 'as found' condition.

A6M5 c/n 5350 (Nakajima-built) R D Wittington, Florida, USA. Unrestored.

A6M5 c/n 4340 code 61-131, captured on Saipan. National Air & Space Museum of Smithsonian Insitute, Washington, DC, USA

A6M7-63 c/n 23186 (Nakajima-built) code YO-143, San Diego Aerospace Museum. Calif. (owned by National Air & Space Museum)

A6M2-21 c/n 3869, recovered from Babo airfield, Irian Jaya, Indonesia in 1991, P&W R-1830 motor. Restored to airworthy in Russia as an A6M3-22, flying as N6582L, later N712Z since 28 April 1998, code X-133 Registered to Liberty Aero, Santa Monica, operated by Southern CA Wing CAF and flying from their base at Camarillo.

A6M3 c/n 3852, recovered from Babo Island, Indonesia, restored to airworthy in Russia 1994-97 with a P&W R1830. Flown as N385HF, N3852 for Flying Hertitage Collection, Chino, USA. Under conversion to two-seater at Chino.

A6M2-21 c/n 5549 (Nakajima built) WI-187 Recovered from Balalae Island in 1965 after service with 201 Kokutai, was with Robert Diemert, Manitoba, Canada. Now reported with Blayd Corporation, Carman, Manitoba, and being used as a pattern for building a new Zero. Project commenced in 1994 and is estimated to take 60,000 man-hours. The new aircraft will fly with a P&W R-1830 engine.

A6M2 Built by Blayd Corporation using almost all new parts copied from above aircraft. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney 1830 engine, and completed by Tri-State Aviation of Wahpeton, ND. This aircraft first flew on 29th July 2004 and is painted up in the colour scheme of A1-1-129, an A6M2 flown from the carrier Zuikaku in early 1943. The aircraft is currently based at the Fargo Air Museum, ND, and is said to be for sale.

IWM ZeroA6M5 cockpit section only, ex Tebrau airfield, Malaysia. Imperial War Museum, London. Code (quoted as) BI-05.
I saw this in 1991, and there is just the truncated section as shown here. From its markings, it was one of the captured aircraft flown briefly at the end of the war for assesment by the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, and on that basis was probably a late-model A6M5


A6M5-52 c/n 1303 Captured by US forces during WWII, flown post-war in the US until damaged, sold as scrap. Via a scrap dealer in Atlanta, GA until sold to Don Whittington. Flying Heritage Collection have aquired this Zeke from World Jet Inc, Fort Lauderdale, ex Atlanta Museum, Georgia. Restored to airworthy(?) as N1303

A6M3 c/n 3858 N553TT registered to LGT Aviation, Los Angeles. Airworthy certificate issued 17 February 2000. Based at Mojave airport.

A6M2-N 'Rufe" floatplane. Indian Navy Base Jarawa museum, at Port Blair.

updated March 2006