A historic flight took place this week at the naval base in Kanoya in the Kagoshima Perfecture, Japan, where the legendary Mitsubishi A6M Zero took flight over Japanese land for the first time since World War II, according to The Japan Times. Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Skip Holm, who accumulated 1,072 hours of combat time and continued on as a highly successful air race pilot, test pilot and airshow pilot, was at the controls of the warbird as it took off and flew under grey skies over the lush coastal landscape.
The Zero became a fierce killer in WWII and was considered one of the best long-range fighters of its era. Toward the end of the war, the Zero was used for kamikaze missions and very few examples of the successful warbird still exist. This particular example was found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea. At that time it was in bad shape, but it was fully restored and employed for many years in the United States. It served a role in the movie Pearl Harbor and attended various events around the country, The Japan Times said.
The Zero was purchased last September by Japanese businessman Masahiro Ishizuka who brought it home. Clips from the historic flight can be seen in this video.