Komaki T-1B on approach to Gifu

In order to photograph the last of the Mitsubishi F-1/T-2 and Fuji T-1 before their withdrawal, we decided to visit Japan.

We got us some cheap tickets (only 186 euros all inclusive) for a round trip Amsterdam - Osaka and decided to leave on a Sunday. Unfortunately the KLM-flight was fully booked so we left Holland on Monday, arriving in Osaka on a rainy Tuesdaymorning in early February.

Only four days later, after having spent less than 100 hours in Japan, we left for home again, totally satisfied. Mission accomplished, the F-1s, T-1s and T-2s are in the bag!

OUR OBJECTIVES
05-5810 of the ADTW Tsuiki F-1 Tsuiki T-2

Mitsubishi F-1

One of the remaining operational F-1s pulls up after a mock-strafing run at Tsuiki airbase.

Mitsubishi T-2

A T-2 trainer of the 6 Hikotai touches down at Tsuiki airbase after an early morning mission.

Fuji T-1B

Highlight of the trip: the sole T-1B of the Gifu-based testunit on finals for its homebase.

Komaki T-1B Tsuiki F-1 Gifu FS-T-2

Mitsubishi F-1

Toting a DART, this F-1 taxies towards the runway at Tsuiki.

Mitsubishi FS-T-2

The sixth and seventh T-2 double as F-1 prototypes.

Fuji T-1B

In the last light of the day, a T-1B lines up on Komaki's runway.

We tried to do some photography on the Tuesday but due to the bad weather no flights were taking place. We used this day to make our way from Osaka to Nagoya.

The Wednesday was blessed with brilliant weather at both Gifu and Komaki. The Thursday was spent at Tsuiki airbase, where low clouds and rain disappeared around 11 AM to make way for blue skies and the sun!

With the Friday being a Japanese holiday we decided to visit Hiroshima. The monument in the towncentre is very impressive and well worth a visit.

Brandnew F-2A of 6 Hikotai at Tsuiki
THE EXTRAS
MH-53E at Komaki F-15J of 304 Hikotai Calibration U-125 at Gifu

U-125

One of three calibration U-125s in use seen visiting Gifu.

MH-53E

On a testflight following overhaul at Komaki.

F-15J

Taking off from Tsuiki's runway.

F-4EJ Phantom turning finals

Despite the fact we only spent two days taking pictures at three bases we managed to photograph a nice variety of JASDF, JMSDF and JASDF aircraft. In total 70 aircraft were photographed including the T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, F-1, F-2A/B, F-4EJ, F-15J/DJ, U125/A, YS-11P, C-130H, P-3C, UH-60J, MH-53E, UH-1J and OH-6. Also, the weather was in our favour. I guess we were just lucky!

The picture on the left shows the very first Japanese F-4 Phantom (17-8301) of the testunit turning finals for Gifu airbase.

Hopefully our next visit to Japan will be longer and even more successful!

Mail to: arrow_aviation@hotmail.com

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©Robin Polderman 2005