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December 06, 2004


Mike Brown

I think you may have picked a poor example - the 152's about as small as commonly produced General Aviation aircraft get, and as a trainer it wasn't particularly overpowered. The Zero was half again bigger in each dimension, and five or six times the weight, and a clean retractable gear plane vs. a strut-braced fixed gear trainer. In the end, it's not raw power which matters, but excess of power over weight (drag).

Comparing weight to power ratios at gross, the Zero would be about 5.5 lb/HP, with the 150 at 14.5 lb/HP. That's larger, but not quite the 10-to-one ratio which otherwise appeared. The Zero gets its 1000 mile range at 340mph, about three times the cruise speed of the 150.

Comparing something more representative, say a new Cirrus SR22, you'd have a wingspan of 38 feet and a length of 25 feet - much closer to the Zero's dimensions - with 310 horsepower and a weight of 3400 pounds, for a weight-to-power ratio of about 11 lb/HP, or twice that of the Zero. The range is comparable, at half the speed of the Zero (but four seats).


this may be a dumb question but why were some of the zero planes white and others green? where they different models or for no reason at all?

Khaled Hamid

This is very informative, helpful and amazing.

gary stellern


Where did the original idea/design of the Zero comte from? I once heard a rumor that it was an American who designed the vehicle, subm,itted the plans to the U.S. government, but they were rejected. Any truth?

Thanks, Gary

Greg Staie

Growing up as a boomer (born in 47)and as an irtraffic controller in the Marines during th Nam era, I was an aviation nut and it was touted everywhere that the Zero design was stolen from a Howard Hughes design shown in an airshow in the 1930's. I believe it.


Gary, my father was born in 1903 and was in aviation all his life. He told me an American (not Howard Hughes)designed it and tryed to sell it to the U.S. Army. They didn't want any part of it so he sold the design to the Japanese. This was before we went to war with Japan, of course.

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