H6K Mavis, Japanese Flying Boat

Photograph of Mavis flying boat

Wikimedia Commons

3-view diagram of H6K Mavis flying boat

U.S. Army. Via

Kawanishi H6K4 "Mavis"


Crew 9
Dimensions 131'3" by 84'1" by 20'7"
40m by 25.625m by 6.27m
Wing area 1830 square feet
170 square meters
Weights 25,810-47,399 lbs
11,707-21,500 kg
Maximum speed       211 mph at 13,120 feet
340 km/h at 4000 meters
Cruising speed 138 mph at 13,125 feet
222 km/h at 4000 meters
Climb rate 20 feet per second
6.1 meters per second
Service ceiling 31,530 feet
9610 meters
Power plant Four 1000 hp (746 kW) Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines driving three-blade metal propellers.
Armament One flexible 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun in an open bow position
One flexible 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun in a power-operated dorsal turret
One hand-held 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun in a tail turret (H6K1 and H6K2).
Bomb load Two 800 kg (1760 lb) torpedoes, or up to 2200 lbs (1000 kg) of bombs.
Normal range 2981 miles
4797 km
Maximum range 3779 miles
6082 km
2950 gallons
13,409 liters
Production A total of 215 H6Ks were built by Kawanishi K.K. in their Naruo plant as follows:

4 H6K1 prototypes (1936-38)

(3) H6K1 Model 1 modified from prototypes (1938)

10 H6K2 Model 11 (1938-39)

(2) H6K2 modified as experimental transports (1939)

2 H6K3 (1939)

127 H6K4 Model 22 (1939-42)

36 H6K5 Model 23 (1942)

16 H6K2-L (1940-42)

20 H6K4-L (1942-43)

(2) H6K4-L modified from H6K4 airframes (1942)

Variants The -L designates unarmed transport versions of the Mavis, with room for 18 passengers
The -5 used Kinsei 51 or 53 engines, pushing the speed up to 239 mph (385 km/h).

"Mavis" was the Japanese Navy's standard flying boat at the time of Pearl Harbor. Curiously, "Mavis" and its successor, "Emily," were about the only aircraft in the Japanese arsenal at the start of the war that were more rugged than their Allied counterparts, though "Mavis" lacked armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. Its remarkable range was of great value in the vastness of the Pacific.  "Mavis'"s biggest drawback was that the Japanese were unable to build it in larger numbers.

The design originated in 1933 with a request from the Navy to Kawanishi for a flying boat. The Navy was unimpressed with either design proposed by the company, and in 1934 a revised specification was issued for an aircraft superior to the American Sikorsky S-42. The design team, led by Hashiguchi Yoshi and Kikahura Shizuo, drew on data from the British Short firm to design a new prototype, which first flew on 14 July 1936. The Navy found the aircraft had excellent water handling and was otherwise satisfactory in every respect except being somewhat underpowered. This was remedied by replacing the Hikari engines with more powerful Kinsei engines, and the aircraft was accepted for production in January 1938.

The unarmed transport versions (-L) were given the code name "Tillie" by the Allies. Most of the surviving aircraft were converted to transports as they were replaced by the "Emily."

Photo Gallery

Photograph of H6K Mavis in flight

U.S. Army


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