Operation: Central and Eastern USA and
Wing Span: 33' 9"
Length: 35' 5"
Height: 10' 3"
Max Speed: 443 knots
Gross Weight: 7,800 lbs
Power Plant: Motorlet M-701C
Thrust: 2,000 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 1300 litres/344 gallons
Martin Mattes' Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin
Martin Mattes, of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, owns this
beautiful Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin that is
available for airshows, flybys, film (http://www.banditairshows.com).
The Aero L-29 Delfín (English: Dolphin, NATO
reporting name: Maya) was a military jet trainer
aircraft that became the standard jet trainer for the
air forces of Warsaw Pact nations in the 1960s. It was
Czechoslovakia's first locally designed and built jet
In the late 1950s, the Soviet Air Force was seeking a
jet-powered replacement for its fleet of piston-engined
trainers, and this requirement was soon broadened to
finding a trainer aircraft that could be adopted in
common by Eastern Bloc air forces. Aero's response, the
prototype XL-29 designed by Z. Rublič and K. Tomáš first
flew on 5 April 1959, powered by a British Bristol
Siddeley Viper engine. The second prototype was powered
by the Czech-designed M701 engine, which was used in all
The basic design concept was to produce a
straightfoward, easy-to-build and operate aircraft.
Simplicity and ruggedness were stressed with manual
flight controls, large flaps and the incorporation of
perforated airbrakes on the fuselage sides providing
stable and docile flight characteristics, leading to an
enviable safety record for the type. The sturdy L-29 was
able to operate from grass, sand or unprepared fields.
Both student pilot and instructor had ejection seats,
and were positioned in tandem, under separate canopies
with a slightly raised instructor position.
In 1961, the L-29 was evaluated against the PZL TS-11
Iskra and Yakovlev Yak-30 and
emerged the winner. Poland chose to pursue the
development of the TS-11 Iskra anyway, but
all other Warsaw Pact countries adopted the Delfin under
the agreements of COMECON.
Production began April 1963
and continued for 11 years, with 3,500 eventually built.
A dedicated, single-seat, aerobatic version was
developed as the L-29A Akrobat. A reconnaissance version
with nose-mounted cameras was built as the L-2.
The Delfin served in basic, intermediate and weapons
training roles. For this latter mission, they were
equipped with hardpoints to carry gunpods, bombs or
rockets, and thus armed, Egyptian L-29s were sent into
combat against Israeli tanks during the Yom Kippur War.
The L-29 was supplanted in the inventory of many of its
operators by the Aero L-39 Albatros. More than 2,000
L-29s were supplied to the Soviet Air Force, acquiring
the NATO reporting name "Maya."
As a trainer, the L-29 enabled air forces to adopt an
"all-through" training on jet aircraft, replacing
earlier piston-engined types. On July 16th, 1975, a
Czechoslovakian Air Force L-29 shot down a Polish
civilian biplane that was attempting to defect to the
On October 2, 2007, an unmodified L-29 was used for
the world’s first jet flight powered solely by 100%
biodiesel fuel. Pilots Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante
flew their Delphin Jet at Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada in
order to promote environmentally friendly fuels in
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