Encyclopedia - Aero L-29 Delfin
In 1955 a study was initiated by a team under K.Tomas and Z.Rublic for an aircraft which later became known as the L-29 Delfin. The prototype XL-29 first flew on 5 April 1959 powered by a Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet. The second prototype and a few pre-production aircraft had the Czech M701 turbojet.
In 1961 the L-29 Delfin was put into evaluation along with the Yakovlev Yak-30 and PZL-Mielec TS-11 Iskra. All the Warsaw Pact countries adopted the L-29 as their basic/advanced jet trainer, except for Poland which supported their own PZL-Mielec Project. The first production aircraft was delivered in 1963, and more than 3,500 had been built when production ended in 1975.
The L-29 is a very straightforward design, and is very easy to build and even easier to fly. Flight controls are manual, with large flaps. There are perforated airbrakes on either side of the fuselage. It features retractable tricycle type undercarriage with a manual backup. Both occupants are seated on ejection seats. The instructor's seat isn't higher than the pupil's as in many modern jet trainers.
Although primarily designed as a trainer, the Aero L-29 Delfin also has underwing hardpoints, able to carry bombs or rockets. It has been used in anger by Egypt in the Yom Kippur War, as well as by Azerbaijan versus Armenia.
The Aero L-29 Delfin has been in service with more than 20 air forces around the world, and is still in service with Angola, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Guinea, Mali and Tajikistan. Due to its simplicity the Aero L-29 Delfin is also very popular with various civilian airshow teams around the world.