Videoreport: the L-39NG for LOM PRAHA completed its first flight

 16. 06. 2024      category: Army of the Czech Republic
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A few days ago, the first flight of the L-39NG aircraft intended for the state enterprise LOM PRAHA took place in the AERO Vodochody complex. This aircraft will be used for training future Czech F-35 pilots. Our editorial team was present at this event with a camera, so in addition to the flight itself, we also bring you interesting interviews with the factory pilot of Aero, the director of LOM PRAHA Jiří Protiva and the president of AERO Vodochody Viktor Sotona.

Video: Videoreport: the L-39NG for LOM PRAHA completed its first flight / CZ DEFENCE

The production of four L-39NG aircraft intended for the LOM PRAHA Air Training Centre started in May last year. The contract for the delivery of four aircraft, with an option for four more, was signed by the manufacturer AERO Vodochody with LOM PRAHA in November 2022. The signing of the contract was a very important reference for the Vodochody company, while the purchase of the new trainer aircraft allows LOM PRAHA to continue training tactical pilots of the Czech Armed Forces on the same, but more modern L-39 platform. The first aircraft should be delivered to the Air Training Centre in Pardubice at the turn of 2024 and 2025 and the full training on these aircraft should start in 2025.

Foto: Prezident společnosti AERO Vodochody Viktor Sotona (vlevo) a ředitel LOM PRAHA s.p. Jiří Protiva | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: President of AERO Vodochody Viktor Sotona (left) and Director of LOM PRAHA Jiří Protiva | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

The new L-39NG aircraft will be used by LOM PRAHA, or its subsidiary CLV Pardubice, for various types of training (basic and advanced), during which pilots will learn the principles of using jet aircraft in combat tasks. The acquired aircraft will primarily serve the pilots of the Czech Air Force, however, they are also planned for training pilots of other countries in the NATO Flight Training Europe (NFTE) programme. It is within this programme that the Pardubice Flight Training Centre was certified as one of the first two approved campuses in Europe.

In connection with the operation of the new L-39NG aircraft, a new simulation centre will also be built, which will house, among other things, a certified L-39NG flight simulator supplied by a subsidiary of the state-owned LOM PRAHA VR Group.

Foto: Full Mission simulátor L-39NG | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: Full Mission simulátor L-39NG | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

Zavedení nového typu letounu do leteckého výcviku v CLV umožní postupné uzemnění předchozích typů L-39C, kterým postupně dobíhá jejich životní cyklus. Předpokládaná hodnota zakázky bude činit 2,1 miliardy korun, z toho 1,3 miliardy jsou samotné náklady na pořízení vlastních letounů. Zbytek ceny se pak bude skládat ze souvisejících produktů a služeb. Zejména jde o pozáruční podporu, jejíž cena je garantována až do roku 2028. Kromě letounů státní podnik dostane speciální a výškovou výstroj, prostředky pro přežití, úvodní výcvik pilotů a pozemního personálu, pozemní vybavení, počáteční sady náhradních dílů a spotřebního materiálu, systémy pro plánování a rozbor letů a pozemní výcvikový systém.

Foto: První let letounu L-39NG určeného pro státní podnik LOM PRAHA | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: First flight of the L-39NG aircraft intended for the state enterprise LOM PRAHA | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

During our visit, we asked the factory pilot of AERO Vodochody, Capt. v.v. Vladimír Továrek, how the L-39NG is different from the L-39C. "The aircraft looks like the L-39C, but it is reconstructed to the last screw. New materials have been used, it is lighter, it has a new engine, it is much better. It also consumes much less fuel, has modern avionics and the instructor has a much better view than in the old L-39," Továrek told our editorial team, praising the comfortable seats, where he said it is no problem to sit for up to four hours without getting tired. The pilot Vladimír Továrek told us the following about the control of the aircraft: "It is a very pilot-friendly aircraft, basically not tricky, suitable for students from screener to advanced training." We also asked if there were any comments during the testing of the new L-39NG. "Well, of course we had a lot of comments. This aircraft is already somewhere different than the first prototype that the factory produced," said Vladimír Továrek.

Foto: Tovární pilot AERO Vodochody Vladimír Továrek | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: AERO Vodochody factory pilot Vladimír Továrek | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

We asked the director of the state enterprise LOM PRAHA Jiří Protiva, among other things, how important is the new L-39NG aircraft for further training of pilots of the Air Force of the Czech Air Force within the CLV? "The importance has several consequences. We are currently flying L-39C aircraft, which will gradually outlive us until 2026, so it is a natural renewal of the equipment. And the second factor is, of course, the modernisation of the aviation centre. This aircraft is already qualitatively somewhere else. If I simplify it very much, the 'Cs' have alarm clocks, this has a 'glass cockpit' and it has all the modern avionics that are very important for the basic training of tactical pilots. And here I would like to mention one important thing, that we of course have to adapt to the fact that the Army of the Czech Republic has purchased F-35 aircraft and the training must have parameters so that the pilots have habits and procedures experienced so that they have the appropriate competencies for the F-35," said Jiří Protiva, who added, that the state enterprise LOM PRAHA has concluded an industrial agreement with the F-35 manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to ensure that the training of pilots in the Czech Republic is adapted as much as possible in terms of curriculum, qualification of personnel, but also the aircraft itself, so that pilots in the future can move from L-39NG aircraft directly to F-35 machines in Čáslav.

Foto: Letoun L-39NG určený pro státní podnik LOM PRAHA | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE
Picture: Letoun L-39NG určený pro státní podnik LOM PRAHA | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

Finally, we also contacted the President of AERO Vodochody, Viktor Sotona, and asked how important this first flight of the L-39NG for LOM PRAHA is for AERO Vodochody. "It is an important day, an important milestone. We haven't handed over an aircraft to a Czech customer at home for twenty-five years, so it's a big day for us, when we are happy to present the manufactured aircraft and show that it is ready to start training so that we can hand it over to Pardubice," Viktor Sotona told our editorial team. Regarding the certification of the L-39NG aircraft for F-35 training, Sotona revealed that AERO Vodochody is also preparing some possible further upgrades to the system to better support future F-35 training.

 Author: Michal Pivoňka

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