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L-29 Delfin
L-39 Albatros

In the early 1960's the USSR was looking for a basic jet trainer. Designs were submitted from the various satellite countries. The Poles proposed the TS-11 Iskra (still flying with the Polish A/F) Czechoslovakia the L-29 Delfin, and Russia the YAK 30. The Czechs won with the L-29, the first production aircraft was delivered in April,1963. In addition to the standard model, two others were produced in small numbers, the L-29R, available with nose cameras and underwing stores, and the L-29A, a single seat aerobatic version. Altogether, about 3,600 aircraft were completed by the time production at Aero's Vodochody plant near Prague, ceased in 1974. Approximately 3,000 were delivered to the Soviet Union; other customers included the Czech Air Force, the German Democratic Republic, Romania, Syria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Uganda, Iraq.

Being of a totally new design, a tandem seating position was chosen with the best wing for subsonic flight, the straight wing. The wing has the ability to carry two of the following:- 150 lts drop tanks (normal use), 100 kg bombs, pods each containing four 67mm rockets or two pods of 7.62mm machine guns. The maximum speed with underwing stores is 0.7 mach and 0.75 without, while "G" limits being +8 -4 all this in an aircraft weighing just over 3,500 KGs. The fuselage has a single engine with an air intake in each wing root. This is mounted about mid way and towards the rear of the wing. The Motorlet M-701c-500 turbojet rated is at 1,960 lbs. thrust. The M-701 is an early generation jet engine and features a single stage centrifugal compressor driven by a single stage axial flow turbine. 100% RPM is 15,300, this gives a whistling sound a bit like the fouger magister of similar vintage. There are 7 combustion chambers mounted around the engine.

The L-39 Albatross succeeds the L-29 Maya/Delfin. The L-39 basic and advanced jet trainer first flew on 4 November, 1968. They were followed by ten pre-production aircraft. It was the standard jet trainer for the Soviet Union, and Czechoslavakia from 1971 to 1973. There have been more than 1,650 produced and the aircraft is the standard jet trainer for former Warsaw Pact countries. The newest recipients of these aircraft are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Romania, Syria, and Vietnam.

Over the years, different versions were built: On the basis of the L-39, Aero developed the L-139 trainer with Allied Signal TFE731 engine and digital avionics as well as the L-59 with the DV-2 powerplant. The latest extrapolation is the L-159 light attack aircraft for the Czech air force, which flew in August 1997.


Span 31 ft, .5 in
Length 39 ft, 9 in
Height 15 ft, 7 in
Weight 7617 lbs
Armament 23 mm GSh-23 two barrelled cannon and various combination of bombs
Engines One 16.87 kN Ivenko AI-25 TL turbofan
Crew 2
Maximum Speed 466 mph.
Cruising Speed 379 mph
Range 1087 miles
Service Ceiling 36,100 ft

L-29 Delfin

L-39 Albatros

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Wednesday, September 06, 2000 9:25:43 AM