In the years leading up to World War 2 (1939-1945), Tachikawa Aircraft Company Ltd of Japan provided the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF) with their Ki-9 single-engine, twin-seat biplane aircraft to serve in the intermediate trainer role. The type served from 1935 until the end of the war in 1945 and some 2,618 were built during that span (220 by Tokyo Gasu Denki / Gasuden into 1945). Reliable and relatively simple to fly and maintain, the Ki-9 excelled in its role, providing the necessary "next step" for Japanese airmen seeking to advance to more complex combat warplanes.
Tachikawa had a Ki-9 prototype readied for 1935 and this aircraft recorded its first-flight on January 7th of that year. A second prototype then followed and mimicked much of what was already established on the first. A third prototype differed by way of the installed Nakajima NZ engine of 112 horsepower (the original two prototypes flew with the Hitachi Ha-13a of 350 horsepower). The down-rated engine was purposeful for the third prototype was to mark the standardized form of a basic trainer (the other two were intermediate types). This basic trainer model was eventually abandoned during development owing to several deficiencies in design.
After testing and formal acceptance by the IJAAF, the Ki-9 entered service in 1935.
The outward design of the Ki-9 was rather straightforward utilizing tried-and-true construction practices. The engine was situated at the extreme front of the fuselage with two open-cockpits over center, the two crew seated in tandem. As a biplane, there was an upper and lower wing assembly, these rounded at their tips and of unequal span. N-type struts and cable bracing were used between the two appendages. The tail unit incorporated a single, rounded vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage was wheeled at both main legs and a small tailwheel was situated under the rear of the aircraft.
As a training platform, the Ki-9 carried no weapons officially.
There were three production variants of the Ki-9 series. The base Ki-9 was formally recognized by the Army as the "Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model A" and became the initially manufactured form. This aircraft had a length of 26 feet with a wingspan of 34 feet and a height of 10 feet. Empty weight was 2,500lb against an MTOW of 3,500lb. Power was from a Hitachi Ha-13a air-cooled radial piston engine developing 350 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose. Performance included a maximum speed of 150 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 95 miles per hour and a service ceiling of 19,050 feet. The aircraft held an endurance window of some 3.5 hours.
In practice, the Ki-9 was a well-liked machine. The type was useful in allowing students to "fly blind" to get a better handling of their aircraft without complete reliance on the instrument panel or out-of-cockpit-vision. Some models had the rear cockpit faired over with a canopy to serve as a VIP transport serving high-ranking staff members of the IJAAF. Towards the end of the war, when desperation had truly set in for the Japanese, the aircraft was modified for the Kamikaze role and carried a oil-filled drum at the rear cockpit for the suicide mission. During the war, some Ki-9 aircraft fell to the enemy Chinese and were placed back into service under their new owners.
An improved wartime version, with better handling and performance, followed as the Ki-9-ko and this was known officially as the "Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model B". However the definitive standardized production version became the Ki-9-otsu or "Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model C".
Wartime users (beyond the IJAAF) were China-Nanjing, Manchukuo and the Royal Thai Air Force. Post-war users of the Ki-9 became the Indonesian Air Force, the Republic of China Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force.
China; Imperial Japan; Indonesia; South Korea; Taiwan; Thailand
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
25.9 ft (7.90 m)
33.9 ft (10.32 m)
10.2 ft (3.10 m)
2,469 lb (1,120 kg)
3,483 lb (1,580 kg)
+1,014 lb (+460 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Tachikawa Ki-9 production variant)
1 x Hitachi Ha-13a air-cooled radial piston engine developing 350 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Ki-9 (Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model A) - Base Series Designation.
Ki-9-ko (Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model B) - Variant with improved handling and performance.
Ki-9-otsu (Army Type 95-1 Medium Grade Trainer Model C) - Definitive production standard.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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