Masaaki Iinuma

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Masaaki Iinuma (飯沼正明, Iinuma Masaaki, August 2, 1912 – December 11, 1941) was a Japanese aviator.

Masaaki Iinuma
Born (1912-08-02)August 2, 1912
Toyoshina, Nagano, Empire of Japan
Died December 11, 1941(1941-12-11) (aged 29)
Phnom Penh, Kampuchea
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Aviator
Years active 1937-1941
Known for flew the first Japanese built aircraft from Japan to Europe

Iinuma was born in Toyoshina (now part of Azumino, Nagano Prefecture), and was a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Army flying school at Tokorozawa.

At age 24 he gained fame as the pilot on the Kamikaze (神風号, Kamikaze-go), a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane aircraft, (registration J-BAAI) sponsored by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun. It became famous on April 9, 1937 as the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly from Japan to Europe, making the flight between Tokyo and London, in time for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The total elapsed time since departure from the Tachikawa Airfield was 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, with actual flight time for the whole distance of 15,357 kilometres (9,542 mi) was 51 hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds. The crew consisted of pilot Iinuma and navigator Kenji Tsukagoshi. The flight was the first Fédération Aéronautique Internationale record won by Japanese aviators.

Iinuma later served as chief test pilot for the Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro from May 1941. Iinuma was killed in December 1941 at Phnom Penh airfield in French Indochina when, in a daze from hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, he accidentally walked into a spinning aircraft propeller. His death was officially reported as a military casualty.



  • Time Magazine. Pilot Iinuma's Lesson. Jan. 12 1942.


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