Aero L-39 Albatros – the world’s leading training jet built by the Czech Republic, and was being used in the army of more than 30 countries around the world.

The Aero L-39 Albatros was a high performance jet trainer developed by Aero Vodochody in Czechoslovakia. It was designed as a substitute for the Aero L-29 Delfín as a main training aircraft during the 1960s. The L-39 Albatros has the distinction of being the first of the jet trainers to be produced in the second generation as well as being the first trainer aircraft to be equipped with a turbofan powerplant. The type has been exported as a military trainer to a wide range of countries.

L-39 Albatros review

The L-39 was particularly noted for its robust and fuel-efficient Soviet turbofan engine, which entered service in 1974. The cockpit was designed with 2 seats, in which students sit in front, instructors sit behind to observe and guide when needed. Both pilots were equipped with ejection seats for use in emergency situations. Fuel are housed in the fuselage in five rubber cells and small tiptanks that are non-jettisonable. Double-slotted flaps are fitted and the main gears of the lever-suspension are stressed for impact at high descent rates.

Subsequently, the L-39 Albatros served as the basis for the updated L-59 Super Albatros and the L-139. In 1997, a further development of the design, known as the L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft, began production. To date, more than 2,800 L-39 have been serving around the world with more than 30 air forces. The Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world ; it also flew combat missions in a light-attack role in addition to performing basic and advanced pilot training.

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The L-39 was a more simplified approach with modularity in mind compared to the earlier L-29, allowing the new aircraft to be produced faster and more efficiently than their counterpart. The increased thrust of the powerplant was added along with a reinforced structure as was a new avionics suite. As in the L-29 before it, the tandem twin-seat aircraft allowed unfettered views out of the cockpit, creating an increased sense of situational awareness. Eventually, the training derivative was branched into a light strike form and four underwing hardpoints were used to carry different ordnance options including rocket pods, air-to-air missiles, and conventional drop bombs. This was for close-in work in addition to the standard 23mm GSh-23L twin-barrel cannon mounted on the centerline.

The L-39 has a standard aerodynamic design with straight wings, air intakes above the main wing. The aircraft was built with a simple, flexible, high-efficiency, low-cost guideline. The main task of the L-39 was to train jet fighter pilots. The aircraft will help pilots familiarize themselves with the speed and ability to handle situations before controlling a real supersonic fighters.

The aircraft was equipped with the Ivchenko AI-25TL jet engine, which had a thrust of 16.78 kilonewtons, a maximum speed of about Mach 0.8, operating range 1,100 km. In addition to the main task of training jet pilots, the L-39 can also carry out light attacks by rocket, uncontrolled bombs, Weapons load carrying nearly 300kg.

At the Paris Air Show 2015, Aero Group introduced L-39NG with many outstanding features. L-39NG was equipped with a new engine, gearbox and ability to carry weapons load up to 1.2 tons. According to the Aviation Safety Network, since its introduction in the 1970s, L-39 has occurred 130 accidents, including 47 fatal accidents.

The highest number of deaths related to the L-39 took place on March 21, 2010. A privately owned L-39 crashed into the ground near Antonio Jose de Sucre airport, Venezuela, killing one pilot and four people on the ground.

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