The Kawanishi E11K1 Experimental 11-Shi Special Reconnaissance Seaplane / Navy Type 96 Transport was Kawanishi's second attempt to produce a spotter flying boat for the Japanese Navy, and like the first attempt ended in failure.
In 1934 the Japanese Navy asked Kawanish and Aichi to produce a superior version of the 6-Shi Experimental Night Reconnaissance Flying Boat. The aircraft was intended to act as a gunnery and torpedo spotter for the fleet during night actions, and needed to be stable in the air and on the water. Kawanishi produced their Type T, which was tested by the Navy as the E10K1. This was a biplane with an air cooled engine carried on the upper wing, driving a puller propeller. It underwent tests late in 1935 and was rejected as too unstable in the air and on the water. An attempt to turn it into a transport aircraft also failed, although one prototype was accepted by the Navy as the Navy Type 94 Transport.
The Aichi design was considered to be better and was accepted as the Type 96 Reconnaissance Seaplane, but the Navy still wasn't happy with the design and in 1936 they asked Aichi and Kawanishi to produce 11-Shi prototypes for a replacement.
This time Kawanishi produced a high-wing gull-wing monoplane, with floats that turned into the wing tips when retracted. The wings folded backwards for storage. The aircraft used stress-skin construction and had an all-metal fuselage and wings.
The new design was powered by a water cooled engine that was carried on a rather clumsy looking framework. The engine powered a pusher propeller. The radiator was carried on the rear deck, so that the propeller wash could help cool it.
The prototype made its maiden flight on 11 June 1937 and went to the Navy on 27 June, where it became the E11K1. The aircraft didn't perform well in these tests. As with the E10K1 it was unstable in the air and on the water. The retractable wing tips also caused problems, as did the engine. The Navy rejected the E11K1 and instead placed the Aichi AB-14 into production as the Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Seaplane (although only 17 were actually built).
Just as with the E10K1, Kawanishi attempted to salvage something from the E11K1 by turning it into a transport aircraft. The two prototypes were given retractable beaching gear that could swing out of the way in the air or on the water. The Navy accepted these two aircraft as the Navy Type 96 Transport and used then as command aircraft.
Engine: Type 91-1 twelve-cylinder W water-cooled engine
Span: 52ft 1.5in
Length: 39ft 0.5in
Height: 15ft 9.25in
Empty weight: 4,784lb
Loaded weight: 7,275lb
Max speed: 144mph
Climb Rate: 22min to 9,843ft
Service ceiling: 12,450ft
Endurance: 8.4 hours
Range: 943 miles
Armament: One flexibly mounted 7.7mm machine gun in the nose