A6M Zero Tora 101

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero war plane, considered to be the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, was introduced early in World War II. Excellent maneuverability and long range allowed the Japanese to quickly achieve air superiority — until the Allied planes came along. 

Instrumental in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the A6M vintage aircraft is the plane forever etched in the minds of those who fought on all sides of World War II. The vintage warbird Mitsubishi A6M Zero, nicknamed the Tora, was used as a dogfighter, long range attack plane, and later as a kamikaze attacker. The nickname “Tora” has multiple possible meanings. In Japanese, the word “Tora” means “tiger.” However, Tora more likely refers to an abbreviation used on Japanese radio: “Totsugeki Raigeki,” which translates to “lightning attack.” 

Few of the original Japanese A6M Zero’s remain today, but Tora 101, originally built as a variant of the T-6 Texan, was retrofitted to play a Zero in Hollywood films such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and Midway as well as in the acclaimed television series Baa Baa Black Sheep. 

Aircraft History

Tora 101 was originally built in 1952 by the Canadian Car & Foundry Service as a Harvard Mark IV training aircraft. The designation was given to North American T-6’s built under license in Canada. It was built to train members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and saw service with the RCAF at Penhold, Alberta.  

In 1968, Hollywood enlisted Tora 101 along with 50 other aircraft purchased by 20th Century Fox to be used in an upcoming film. The plane was given extensive modifications to mimic the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.  

Tora 101 arrived in Albany in 2018 and can be found in The Hangar at 743’s collection when it’s not performing in airshows across the United States. 

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Visit The Hangar at 743 to see Tora 101 with your own eyes. Tours are available for groups and individuals by appointment only. Book a tour today.

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