The Zero is considered to have been the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world when it was introduced early in World War II.
Excellent maneuverability and very long range allowed the Japanese to achieve air superiority in World War II, until the Allied planes came along.
It’s the plane forever etched in the minds of those who fought on all sides of World War II. The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, nicknamed the TORA, was introduced in the early stages of the second world war and with nearly 11,000 planes rolling off the production line. It was used as a dogfighter, long range attack plane, and later as a kamikaze attacker, and was instrumental in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Few of the original Zero’s remain today, but the TORA 101, originally built as a variant of the T-6 Texan and retrofitted to play a Zero in Hollywood films remains in the skies, educating the next generation about World War II.
TORA 101 was originally built in 1952 by the Canadian Car & Foundry Service as a Harvard Mark IV training aircraft. The designation was given to North American T-6’s built under license in Canada. It was built to train members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1968 Hollywood enlisted TORA 101 along with 50 other aircraft purchased by 20th Century Fox to be used in an upcoming film. The plane was given extensive modifications to mimic the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Tora! Was also the codeword Japanese forces used to mean “Lightning Attack.”
TORA 101 is flown and displayed at numerous airshows and events each year, being shown to well over two million people each season.
A6M2 TORA 101
Role: Fighter Trainer/Replica
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Heavy Canadian Car Industries, Ltd., & Foundry
Nakajima Aircraft Co.
Country: Japan Canada
Introduced: 1940 1952
Engine: Nakajima Sakae Pratt & Whitney R1340 AN-2 (3:2 Geared)
Wingspan: 39.4 feet 46 feet
Length: 29.7 feet 30 feet
Height: 10 feet 11 feet, 8 inches
Max. Speed: 351 mph 240 mph
Range: 1930 mi 730
Armaments: 2-20mm wing mounted Propane/oxygen cannons, 2 7.7 mm gas guns
Crew: 1 2
Number built: 10,939 50