The Tachikawa Ki-77 was a Japanese very long-range experimental transport and communications aircraft of World War II derived from a design commissioned by a newspaper to break the flight distance record set by a rival.
It was a low-wing cabin monoplane with twin piston engines and a tail wheel undercarriage.
Only 2 aircraft were built.
The Ki-77 was the Japanese Army Air Force designation for the A-26, a clean, slim low-wing, twin-engine monoplane intended for an endurance flight between New York and Tokyo.
The A stood for the name of the sponsor, a newspaper Asahi Shimbun which was vying for records with a rival paper that had sponsored the Mitsubishi Ki-15 Kamikaze flight to the United Kingdom in 1937.
26 was for the 26th century of the Japanese Imperial Dynasty – 1940 was year 2600 in the Japanese calendar.
The Ki-77’s overall design was developed under the aegis of Dr. Hidemasa Kimura of the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, with Tachikawa Aircraft Company being responsible for manufacturing and detail drafting work.
The aircraft’s layout was finalized in autumn of 1940 with its first flight originally expected in late 1941, but this was cancelled with the start of war against the United States and consequent reallocation of priorities.
The Ki-77 design included a number of novel features, including a high aspect ratio laminar flow wing for reduced drag, a sealed but unpressurized cabin to reduce the need for oxygen masks at its intended operating altitude, and special low drag cowlings.