Aero L-29 Delfin: Simple and rugged

Aero L-29 Delfin

To become a supersonic jet pilot, one has to train first. And to train, one does not start with a complex, multi-role fighter. After taking first flight hours on piston powered aircraft a jet trainer is the best formula for intermediate training, revealing speed and performance of jets while keeping the flying tasks still simple enough before specializing on one of the high-end birds.

In the Cold War the Warsaw pact was in need of such a trainer. There were three candidates proposed: The Czech Aero L-29 Delfin, the Polish TS-11 Iskra and the Russian Yakovlev Yak-32.  Of those jet trainers the L-29 became the platform of choice until replaced by the “MiGFlug standard jet” L-39 Albatros a decade later. After 12 years in production (ended in 1974) Aero Vodochody delivered 3665 airframes to 15 countries, including 2785 for the USSR.

Simple and rugged

The L-29 type designation is derived from the date when the technical criteria were discussed – September 29th 1954. And virtually all of its design criteria is simple and straightforward. Manual flight controls, large flaps and other aerodynamic features offer a stable and readable flight. The original plans for an axial M-701 engine were replaced with a simpler centrifugal design to meet the requirement for operating from grass, sand and other unpaved fields.

All of these helped reaching a notable safety record. Although not used for military training anymore, the L-29 is still popular with civil operators around the world, from personal flying to airshows and competitions such as Reno air race.

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L-29 "Delfin" -
Simple and rugged

Relatively easy to fly, good flight characteristics, low price

No supersonic flights possible, limited view from the back seat, inferior performance compared to other jet models

More information about the L-29

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Technical Data

Aero L-29 Delfin - simple and rugged.

  • Rate of climb: 11.000 m
  • Maximum speed: 655 km/h (353 knots, 407 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
  • Fuel capacity: 3540 kg
  • Span: 10.29 m
  • Length: 10.81 m