‘Rex’ restoration on the cards in Florida

Florida-based American Aero Services is to begin restoring former Imperial Japanese Navy Kawanishi N1K1 Kyōfū 565 to static display condition

Kyōfū translates as ‘Mighty Wind’, though the floatplane – one of only three extant – was given the somewhat less dramatic Allied reporting name ‘Rex’. Dubbed ‘Rex 565’, it’s believed the aircraft flew with the 951st Kōkūtai (Air Group) from southern Japan towards the end of World War Two – it’s now at American Aero Services’ New Smyrna Beach facility.

One of four examples captured by US forces and sent ‘home’ for evaluation at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland, the airframe remained with the US Navy and was displayed outside NAS Willow Grove in Pennsylvania from 1958 until 1999. It was then placed in storage at Florida’s National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola.

A Kawanishi N1K1 ‘Rex’ floatplane photographed by the Japanese Navy prior to 1945
A Kawanishi N1K1 ‘Rex’ floatplane photographed by the Japanese Navy prior to 1945 Public Domain