Aichi Museum of Flight Opens Today

Inside the new Aichi Museum of Flight. The aircraft in the foreground is a Japanese YS-11 turboprop, the first airliner designed and built in post-war Japan. The type enjoyed some success overseas, being a popular regional airliner in the United States. This particular example, 52-1152, only recently retired from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, which is the last user of the type alongside the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. (image via Museum of Flight)
Inside the new Aichi Museum of Flight. The aircraft in the foreground is a Japanese YS-11 turboprop, the first airliner designed and built in post-war Japan. The type enjoyed some success overseas, being a popular regional airliner in the United States. This particular example, 52-1152, only recently retired from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, which is the last user of the type alongside the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. (image via Museum of Flight)

A significant aviation museum named the Aichi Museum of Flight opened for the first time today at Nagoya Airport within the prefecture of Aichi, Japan. While the new museum celebrates aviation as a whole, it obviously highlights the many accomplishments of the Japanese aviation industry over the past century. The Aichi Museum of Flight is also pairing up with the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, which released the following announcement today…

The Museum of Flight in Seattle and Aichi Museum of Flight near Nagoya announced a cooperative agreement at the grand opening of the Aichi Museum today at Nagoya Airport in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The two museums will advance a mutually beneficial relationship for the development of both museums and both regions. Areas of common interest include exchanging ideas and best practices in aspects of museum operations, human resource development responsible for the aviation industry, and discussing ways to benefit their desire to help their respective communities.
One of the many galleries within the vast new Aichi Museum of Flight. (image via Museum of Flight)

While The Museum of Flight was established in 1965, the Aichi Museum of Flight is entirely new. Housed in a huge, hangar-like building with a rooftop patio overlooking the airport, the Aichi museum focusses on the experience, development and inspiration of aviation. Its relatively modest collection of Japanese aircraft includes a twin-turboprop YS-11, the country’s first airliner built after the post-World War ban on Japanese airplane development was lifted in the 1950s. Aichi Prefecture is recognized as an important region of Japan’s aerospace industry, and the Museum’s construction was funded by the prefectural government.

An Aichi D3A1 ‘Val’ which flew with the Imperial Japanese Navy from the aircraft carrier Akagi. (photo via Wikipedia)
The prefecture of Aichi is also famous, of course, for the eponymous aircraft manufacturer which produced many combat aircraft during WWII, especially for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The most significant of these was the Aichi D3A Type 99 Carrier Bomber, codenamed ‘Val’ by the Allied Forces. Vals were heavily involved in the war from the opening shots at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, until the end. The type is credited with sinking more Allied naval vessels than any other Axis aircraft, despite being essentially obsolescent by the time they saw action. The Aichi Aircraft Company survives to this day as a subsidiary of Nissan, with the new name the Aichi Machine Industry Company.

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