Kawanishi K-7 Transport Seaplane
|K-7 Transport Seaplane|
|Manufacturer||Kawanishi Aircraft Company|
|Primary user||Nippon Koku KK|
Design and development
In December 1923, Eiji Sekiguchi, chief designer of the aircraft department of Kawanishi Kikai Setsakuho (Kawanishi Machinery Manufacturing Works), started design of a new high speed transport floatplane to equip Nippon Koku KK (Japan Aviation Co. Ltd.), an airline subsidiary of Kawanishi. Sekiguchi designed a single-engined sesquiplane (i.e. a biplane with the lower wing much smaller than the upper wing) of all-wooden construction. Seating for four passengers was provided in a enclosed cabin, while the aircraft's two pilots sat in individual open tandem cockpits aft of the passenger cabin. The aircraft was powered by a single Maybach Mb.IVa water-cooled inline-engine providing 305 hp (228 kW), an engine type usually used to power Zeppelins or R-planes (Riesenflugzeuge like the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI), received as part of Germany's reparations to Japan after the end of the First World War.
The first example of the new aircraft, the K-7A Transport Seaplane was completed in November 1924, demonstrating both good performance and handling. A further nine K-7As were built by the time production ended in 1927, together with a single example of the K-7B Mail-Carrying Aircraft, a modified version that could be operated either on floats or with a tailwheel undercarriage.
The K-7A entered service on Nippon Koku's service between Osaka and Fukuoka in January 1925, mainly carrying airmail rather than passengers. The K-7A proved successful in service, one carrying mail from Fukuoka and Shanghai, China, a distance of over 950 kilometers (590 mi) in May 1926, while the K-7B was used together with the Kawanishi K-10 Transport to operate an airmail route between Osaka and the Japanese occupied city of Dalian in September 1926. The K-7A continued in use until 1929, when Nippon Koku was forced to be disbanded, with its routes transferred to the government owned Nihon Koko Yuso KK (Japan Air Transport).
- K-7A Transport Seaplane
- Six-seat airliner/transport floatplane, powered by Maybach MIVa engine. Ten built.
- K-7B Mail-carrying Aircraft
- Modified version of K-7A, capable of operating with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage or floats, powered by 440 hp (328 kW) Lorraine 1 V12 engine. One built in 1925.
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Data from Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941
- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Length: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)
- Wingspan: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
- Height: 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in)
- Wing area: 34 m2 (370 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 1,250 kg (2,756 lb)
- Gross weight: 2,000 kg (4,409 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Maybach Mb.IVa water-cooled six-cylinder inline engine, 227 kW (305 hp)
- Maximum speed: 196 km/h; 122 mph (106 kn) at sea level
- Endurance: 6 hr
- Service ceiling: 6,000 m (19,685 ft)
- Mikesh, Robert C. and Shorzoe Abe. Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1990. ISBN 0-85177-840-2.
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