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Aichi F1A / AB-13

The Aichi F1A, designated AB-13 by its designers and manufacturers at Aichi, was a prototype Japanese floatplane of the 1930s.

A single engine biplane, the F1A was intended as a short range observation aircraft suitable for operation off the Imperial Japanese navy’s warships, but only two were built, the Mitsubishi F1M being selected instead.

The F1A was designed by Aichi in response to a 1935 specification, issued to Aichi, Kawanishi and Mitsubishi for a replacement for the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Nakajima E8N floatplanes, which were used for short-ranged reconnaissance and observation missions from the Navy’s warships.

Aichi at first considered a low-winged monoplane design, the AM-10, to meet this requirement, but this was rejected in favour of a more conventional biplane design, the AB-13.

The AB-13 was a small single-bay biplane of mixed construction.

It had wooden stressed skin wings with plywood skinning that folded to allow easy storage aboard ship, while combat flaps were fitted as the aircraft was required to have sufficient manoeuvrability for air combat as well as its normal observation missions.

The fuselage was of metal construction, with the pilot sitting in an open cockpit, but the observer’s position being enclosed.

Both float and wheeled undercarriages were designed, with the seaplane having a single main float, while the landplane version had a fixed tail wheel undercarriage.

Power was provided by a single Nakajima Hikari radial engine.





9.30 m (30 ft 6 in)


11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)


4.10 m (13 ft 5 in)

Wing area

28.0 m2 (301.399 sq ft)

Empty weight

1,400 kg (3,086 lb)

Gross weight

2,100 kg (4,629 lb)

Max take-off weight

2,380 kg (5,247 lb)


1 × Nakajima Hikari 1, nine cylinder air cooled radial engine,

610 kW (820 hp)


Maximum speed

386 km/h (240 mph, 207.8 kn) at 3,000 m (9,840 ft)

Stall speed

95.4 km/h (59.3 mph, 51.5 kn)


1,449 km (900 mi, 783 nmi) at 185 km/h (100 knots, 115 mph)


8 hr 30 min

Service ceiling

9,275 m (30,430 ft)

Time to altitude

3,000 m (9,840 ft) in 4 min 26 s



2× fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine guns

1 machine gun in rear cockpit.


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