This first hand account by Dr Hidemasa Kimura (1904-1986) of the development and flight of the Tachikawa Ki-77 under the project designation A-26, appeared as part of the 'Now It Can Be Told' series in the February 1964 issue of Flying Review International magazine. It is too interesting to remain buried in an old magazine and is therefore presented here in its entirety. The A-26 designation represented 'A' for the Asahi Shimbun newspaper which had first sponsored a non-stop Tokyo to New York flight and '26' for the Japanese Imperial year (Kōki - 皇紀) 2600 for 1940. The A-26/Ki-77 featured here in May 2014 as a superbly scratch-built model in 1/48 scale by John Haas (heading image) and was also the second kit as FSM-002 produced by the late Horatio Hernández in his Friendship Scale Models enterprise as featured here, here and here.
The mysterious fate of the second prototype, lost on an inaugural Seiko (成功 - Success) flight to Germany via Singapore on 7 July 1943 remains unresolved. In June 2001 Larry deZeng posted at j-aircraft.com the information that in the same month RAF 'Y' Service personnel had intercepted the following Ultra signal from Berlin dated 7 July 1943 to Kdo.d.Flughafenbereich 6/VI (Airfield Regional Command) at Sarabus, Crimea, which exercised authority over the entire Luftwaffe airfield infrastructure at that time:- "On 8/7 an allied aircraft will fly via air grid squares 3420, 2560 and 2510 to Sarabus. It is a two engined low wing monoplane, wing span 30 metres, metal fuselage, natural colour, wings grey. The aircraft must not be fired on under any circumstances." The Ultra signals intelligence analyst at Bletchley Park had added the following note:- "This presumably refers to undertaking 'GOA' in which an aircraft was flying to Sarabus from Tokio (sic) via Singapore". Ultra Signal CX/MSS 2867/T8).
According to Deniz Karacay also posting at j-aircraft.com the first (non-scheduled?) non-stop flight from New York to Tokyo was by Boeing 747SP in November 1975 with Dr Kimura as passenger!
Dr Hidemasa Kimura 1904-1986