For good's sake I am just unable to imagine how the Ki-100 could take on allied late war fighters on equal terms? It was so much slower than the latest opposition, even a tad slower than the Ki-61 it replaced. Sure it featured superior manoeuvrability and good climb performance but was that good enough to compensate for the really huge speed disadvantage? Going with this logic even the predecessors such as the Ki-43 should be competitive to F6Fs?
Maximum speed disadvantage, Yes. combat speed disadvantage, NO. The Ki.100 was fully aerobatic at speeds in
excess of 400 mph. unlike many late war Japanese fighters whose maneuverability began to diminish at speeds
over 330 mph. The Ki.100 also accelerated into a dive very well. And yes, the Ki.43-III was very competitive to the
F6F-5 in many respect; climb, turn, roll rate, acceleration...etc.
And what does it mean it could dive with the P-51, a plane with an aerodynamically much cleaner airframe? I can't believe that it can keep up in dive. But then what does better dive characteristics mean?
I believe whoever made that statement should have classified it. Because of the much better overall
maneuverability of the Ki.100 it could enter a dive quicker and once into the dive retained excellent handling
qualities. Given time & distance the Mustang would overhaul it.
Even with a more powerful engine it was not faster. It's handling and agility endeared it especially for rookie pilots.
BINGO, that is exactly why the aircraft was so valuable. Pilot skill was rapidly diminishing in Japan making
this an invaluable trait.
A P-51 should be able to engage and disengage at will.
As long as the pilot is focused on using his greater speed, yes.
Against Hellcats I can imagine that the Ki-100 had the edge as the F6fs were not on the forefront of fighter performance at that time anymore.
In many ways the Hellcat was similar to the Ki.100 in that it was a very forgiving aircraft also. If the F6F-5 kept its
speed way up, it actually had an advantage. The water-injected F6Fs were capable of maximum speeds in excess
of 405 mph.
Maybe there are dogfight mechanics that I don't know of that give an explanation.
Maybe someone can enlighten me on this as I still tend to the opinion that this might be just an overblown myth surrounding a somehow maverick airplane.
Not really an overblown myth. If any aircraft, including the much vaunted Yak-3, slowed down and played the
Ki.100's game, it was going to be in for the fight of its life.