Aichi AB-6

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Role Reconnaissance floatplane
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Aichi
Designer Tetsuo Miki
First flight 1933
Number built 1
Developed from Heinkel He 62

The Aichi AB-6, or Aichi Experimental 7-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane, was a prototype Japanese reconnaissance floatplane. It was a single-engined, three-seat biplane intended for the Imperial Japanese Navy, but only one was built, the rival aircraft from Kawanishi, the E7K being preferred.

Design and development[edit]

In 1932, the Imperial Japanese Navy raised a specification for a long-range floatplane reconnaissance aircraft to replace its Yokosuka E1Y and E5Y operating from its seaplane tenders and battleships, requesting prototypes from Aichi and Kawanishi. Aichi's entry, the Aichi AB-6 or Aichi Experimental 7-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane,[a] designed by Tetsuo Miki, was based on the Heinkel He 62, one example of which had been imported by Aichi the previous year for evaluation against a similar requirement. The AB-6 was a biplane with folding wings for storage aboard ship, of all-metal construction with fabric covering, and powered by a single Hiro Type 91 W12 engine. Its crew of three, pilot, observer and radio operator/gunner were accommodated in an enclosed cockpit.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The prototype was completed in February 1933 and made its maiden flight from Nagoya harbour. While it had good handling in the air, its speed and its take-off and landing performance was disappointing, and the aircraft was modified to try to improve matters, being fitted with revised wings, of different aerofoil section and with full-span leading edge slats, while the original Hamilton-Standard two-bladed metal variable-pitch propeller was first replaced by a two-bladed wooden propeller and then a four-bladed wooden unit. Despite these changes, Kawanishi's design remained superior, and in 1934 was ordered into production as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane, or Kawanishi E7K.[2][3]

Specifications (final configuration)[edit]

Data from Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 10.44 m (34 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.98 m (42 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4.80 m (15 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 40.61 m2 (437.1 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,920 kg (4,233 lb)
  • Gross weight: 3,020 kg (6,658 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,300 kg (7,275 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hiro Type 91 water-cooled W12 engine, 470 kW (630 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 225 km/h; 122 kn (140 mph) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 148 km/h; 92 mph (80 kn) at 1,000 m (3,300 ft)
  • Stall speed: 81 km/h (50 mph; 44 kn)
  • Endurance: 11.9 h
  • Service ceiling: 4,850 m (15,910 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 3,000 m (9,840 ft) in 14 min 54 s


  • Guns: 1× fixed, forward firing 7.7 mm machine gun, 1 flexibly mounted in rear cockpit and 1× under fuselage

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  • a In the Japanese Navy designation system, specifications were given a Shi number based on the year of the Emperor's reign it was issued. In this case 7-Shi stood for 1932, the 7th year of the Shōwa era.[5]
  1. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, pp. 72–73.
  2. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, p. 73.
  3. ^ Francillon 1970, pp. 297–298.
  4. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, pp. 73–74.
  5. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, pp. 2, 286.


  • Francillon, R.J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London:Putnam, 1970. ISBN 0-370-00033-1.
  • Mikesh, Robert and Shorzoe Abe. Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941. London:Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-840-2.