One of Mitsubishi's legendary Zero fighters has taken to the skies over Japan for the first time since World War II.

The restored plane took off Wednesday for a brief flight from a naval base in southern Japan. A decorated former U.S. Air Force pilot flew the aircraft.

Zero fighters were considered one of the most capable long-range fighter planes in World War II.

Only a handful are still in operating condition.

This particular plane was found decaying in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. It was owned by an American until a Japanese businessman purchased it and brought it to Japan last year.