“When aviator Tsunesaburo Ogita returned to Japan from France in May 1914, he took with him an 80hp Le Rhone-powered Morane-Saulnier MS 5 [Type H] monoplane. He won first prize in the altitude category by reaching 2,000m (6,600 ft) at the First Civil Flying Meet, at Naruo in June 1914. Later, on 2 September, 1914, when he made an exhibition flight over Kyoto City, he was honoured by His Highness Prince Fushimi by giving his aeroplane the name Sempu (‘cut the wind with a wing’).
“With this aeroplane, Ogita established the Sempu Flying School in Yokaichi, near Ohtsu by Lake Biwa. After nearly eight months of flying in Japan, the aeroplane crashed soon after taking off from the Fukakusa Military Parade Grounds in Kyoto on 3 january, 1915. It struck the ground at the nearby Army ordnance arsenal, killing Ogita and his assistant Shigeharu O-hashi, and was destroyed. The parts were collected and, along with spares for the aeroplane, were stored at the nearby Kyoto Flight Sponsorship Society (Kyoto Hiko Koenkai).
“One month after the fatal crash, the Kyoto Flight Sponsorship Society decided in February 1915 to build an aeroplane from the remaining parts. With a working budget of 2,500 yen, Shozo Izaki and five flying students set about the task of rebuilding. The same 80hp Le Rhone rotary engine was used, but the repair of the engine by the Shimazu Motor company in Osaka delayed completion of the aeroplane until that August.
“It was called the No.2 Sempu-go aeroplane in honour of Ogita.”
– Their Flying Machines (website)
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