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Aichi F1A

The Aichi F1A, known as AB-13 by its creators at Aichi, was a prototype Japanese floatplane from the 1930s.

This single engine biplane was designed as a short-range observation aircraft for use on the Imperial Japanese Navy’s ships, but ultimately only two were constructed, with the Mitsubishi F1M ultimately chosen instead.

Aichi developed the F1A aircraft as a response to a 1935 request for a new aircraft model from the Imperial Japanese Navy.

This request was made to Aichi, Kawanishi, and Mitsubishi as a replacement for the Nakajima E8N floatplanes, which were previously used by the Navy for short-range reconnaissance and observation missions.

Initially, Aichi considered a low-winged monoplane design called the AM-10 to fulfil this requirement.

However, they ultimately decided to go with a more traditional biplane design known as the AB-13.

The AB-13 was a small biplane with a single bay and a combination of different construction materials.

The aircraft featured stressed skin wings made of wood with plywood skinning that could be folded for convenient storage on board a ship.

In addition, combat flaps were installed to ensure the aircraft had the necessary manoeuvrability for air combat, in addition to its regular observation duties.

The fuselage was constructed of metal, with the pilot seated in an open cockpit while the observer’s position was enclosed.

Two types of undercarriages were created for the aircraft, one with floats and the other with wheels.

The seaplane variant featured a main float, whereas the landplane version was equipped with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage.

The aircraft was powered 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,

9-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.

Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941-R C Mikesh & A Shorzoe.
The Xplanes of Imperial Japanese Army & Navy 1924-1945-Illustrated Warplane History.


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