Rubber powered push propeller model airplane made of styrofoam and balsa wood.
Dimensions plane HxW: 50 x 45 cm / 19,6 x 17,7 inch
Chuhachi Ninomiya, born in 1866, was known as "Kite-flying Chuhachi" in Yawatahama where he grew up. By the late 1880s he was ready to move beyond kites to actual flying machines. Inspired by watching the flight of a crow, Ninomiya designed a small airplane powered by a rubber band that first flew in 1891. The 23.6 inch wide "Crow" was of a monoplane design with a tricycle landing gear and a 4-bladed pusher propeller, quite surprising at the time!
You might wonder why Ninomiya didn't move on to bigger and better things once the Crow proved to be a success. Well, it wasn't for a lack of trying. Having entered the Japanese Army at the outbreak of war with China in 1894, Ninomiya saw the need for airborne reconnaissance and begged his commanding officers to let him build an airplane big enough to carry a man (and presumably, powered by something other than rubber bands). The reply was crushing: "You're crazy. If America and Europe don't have such a machine, how can we Japanese build one?"
News of the Wright's success in 1903 caused Ninomiya to give up his experiments and he eventually died in 1936. His place in aviation history is assured, however, his ideas were proven in 1991, a century after the Crow first flew, when a larger replica of one of his designs successfully took to the air at a Vancouver, Canada air show. If only he would have been a bit more persistent, the first man-carrying flight would not have been made in Canada, but almost a decade earlier in Japan! We are proud to offer Nimoiya’s invention in a modern version with a nearly unchanged design from the original.