Aero, a Czech aircraft manufacturer, successfully flew the first L-39NG aircraft produced in series. The flight of the first mass-produced L-39NG aircraft, which exceeded all expectations and occurred 20 years after the last flight of a mass-produced plane, represents a new historical milestone. During the flight, the pilots tested the training aircraft’s functions following the standard factory flight programme.
The initial flight of the L-39NG lasted approximately 40 minutes. During the hundreds of kilometres flown, the pilots tested the engine, aircraft systems, avionics, and the aircraft’s controllability and demeanour during all phases of flight, from takeoff to landing, including aerobatics. Testing was conducted at altitudes ranging from 0 to 8,500 metres and velocities ranging from stall to maximum (0.8 Mach or 900 km/h).
According to Aero’s president and CEO, Viktor Sotona, who evaluated the flight, the flight of the first serial aircraft confirmed that the L-39NG is prepared for serial deliveries to the clients. The plane is the class leader on a global scale. In terms of construction, flight characteristics, safety, avionics, and modern equipment, he said it is an outstanding platform for training fighter pilots of the fourth and fifth generation.
Aero’s Executive Vice President and Principal Development Officer, Petr Jinda, and the L-39NG’s principal designer, Jaromir Lang, stated that the first production aircraft met all programme requirements, with production number 7005. Although this is a significant milestone from Aero’s perspective, the fly-by itself is more of a routine procedure performed after each aircraft component has been manufactured, he said, adding that on L-39NG prototypes, the factory flight programme was previously verified.
The initial series-produced L-39NG training aircraft is destined for a Southeast Asian customer. Other consumers include Hungary and the Czech Republic, among others. Aero has orders for 34 L-39NG aircraft at present.
The new iteration of the aircraft is believed to have a three times longer lifespan than the original Albatros. Depending on how the aircraft is utilised, i.e. the load on the structure during flight, the L-39NG is estimated to have a service life of up to 15,000 hours, which is three times that of its predecessor, the L-39 Albatros. The number of proven service life cycles is determined following the European military EMACC regulation, which governs the type certification of the aircraft.
The L-39NG aircraft is a collaborative effort between two private corporations, the largest Czech aircraft manufacturer AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE and its strategic partner, the commercial and military aircraft manufacturer OMNIPOL which owns fifty per cent of it. Penta, the Czech investment group that owns Aero,
Aero recently inaugurated a new production line exclusively for the L-39NG aircraft. The traditional Czech aircraft manufacturer intends to increase annual L-39NG production to 24 aircraft within two years. Additionally, other Czech enterprises contribute to the production. Over sixty per cent of Aero’s suppliers are domestic businesses.
The L-39NG aircraft is a modern and efficient light jet capable of fulfilling the function of a light fighter and a unified and complex plane for the comprehensive training of contemporary air force pilots. The aircraft is based on the aerodynamic concept of the original L-39, with elements optimised to reduce drag and increase efficiency, and employs modern production techniques and equipment. The highly efficient FJ44-4M engine provides propulsion, and the TAP Blue maintenance system provides users with unprecedented airworthiness and maintenance cost predictability. The aircraft’s avionics are equipped to train future fourth- and fifth-generation pilots and are highly adaptable to customer specifications. Five weapon platforms are installed on the aircraft’s combat variant. The aircraft is also equipped with various simulation technologies to improve training efficiency, including a connection to a highly advanced tactical simulation centre.
AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE is not only the most well known but also one of the world’s oldest aircraft manufacturers. It is also the largest aircraft manufacturer in the Czech Republic. It concentrates on developing, producing, maintaining, and improving civil and military aircraft. Aero is a permanent partner of several military air forces in the sphere of its aircraft and holds a dominant position in the market for military training and light combat aircraft. Aero is a leader in the global market for jet training aircraft due to the 11,000 aircraft it has produced in its century of existence, the hundreds of L-39 Albatros trainers are still in service with dozens of military servcies and several demonstration teams, and especially its new L-39NG aircraft. Aero collaborates with the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers on various projects and is a partner in several risk-sharing programmes, where it is responsible for producing and assembling aircraft components.