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Aero L-29 Delfin / Maya - Czechoslovakia, 1963

Detailing the development and operational history of the Aero L-29 Delfin / Maya Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 11/15/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Aero L-29 Delfin / Maya  
Picture of Aero L-29 Delfin / Maya

The Aero L-29 was an important trainer for the Soviet Union and its sattlelite states

The Czech designed and produced Aero L-29 Delfin (translating to "Dolphin"; NATO designation of "Maya") series was a highly utilized Cold War jet trainer aircraft for the Soviet Union and its satellite states. The twin-seat aircraft was capable of speeds over 400 miles per hour and a ceiling of over 36,000 feet. Seeing large numbers, the L-29 was produced up until 1974 with many still in service in poorer military units around the world.

The single engine performer was built from two XL-29-designated prototypes - one fitted with a British Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet engine and another fitted with an indigenous M 701 turbojet. Further development saw a three-way competitive fly-off occur against the Yak-30 design and the PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskra with the L-29 coming out ahead (Poland would go on to utilize the TS-11 trainer however). From there, the L-29 system would be fielded throughout the Soviet Bloc countries as the premiere jet trainer aircraft.

With two available underwing hardpoints, a light attack strike aircraft was designed that could carry gun pods, drop bombs and rockets. Specialized aerobatic performers were also devised from the existing base L-29 airframe and production of the entire L-29 series amounted to well over 3,600 strong.

Aero L-29 Delfin / Maya Specifications

Service Year: 1963
Type: Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft
National Origin: Czechoslovakia
Manufacturer(s): Aero Vodochody - Czechoslovakia
Total Production: 3,600

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 35.47 feet (10.81 meters)
Overall Width: 33.76 feet (10.29 meters)
Overall Height: 10.17 feet (3.10 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,214 lb (2,365 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 7,804 lb (3,540 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Motorlet M 701c 500 turbojet engine generating 1,960lbs of thrust.

Maximum Speed: 354 knots (407 mph; 655 kph)
Maximum Range: 346 nautical miles (398 miles; 640 km)
Service Ceiling: 36,089 feet (11,000 meters; 6.84 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,755 feet-per-minute (840 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

Mission-specific ordnance can include any of the following (limited to two external underwing hardpoints):

2 x 7.62mm Gun Pods
2 x 220lb Drop Bombs
8 x High Explosive Light air-to-surface rockets

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Angola; Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Soviet Union; Georgia; Ghana; Iraq; Mali; Romania; Syria; Slovakia

Model Variants

XL-29 - Prototype series; first prototype fitted with Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet engine; Second prototype fitted with M 701 turbojet powerplant.
L-29 - Base Series Designation; basic trainer.
L-29A - Delfin "Akrobat" - Acrobatic Performer.
L-29R - Dedicated Light Strike Aircraft Variant

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