Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody announced the first customer for its new L-39NG trainer at the Paris Air Show. LOM Praha will use the Next Generation L-39 Albatros at its Centru Leteckého Výcviku (CLV), or Flight Training Center, at Pardubice airbase in the Czech Republic.
The seven L-39’s currently in use at Pardubice for training military pilots will be converted to L-39NG standard. LOM Praha has also taken an option for one newly built L-39NG.
Meanwhile, Aero Vodochody states that development of the new trainer aircraft is progressing nicely. First flight is set for later this year, with deliveries commencing in 2018. The new version sees the old AI-25TL engine exchanged for the new Williams FJ44-4M, but also involves many updates of both the airframe and avionics.
Talks are also ongoing with Breitling Jet Team, which could see the team’s L-39 replaced by L-39NGs. Furthermore, US company Draken International, known for buying surplus L-159s from the Czech Republic earlier, is interested in the L-39NG. The company will be responsible for all L-39NG work done in the US.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An old skool L-39 owned by LOM Praha at Pardubice. (Image © Dennis Spronk)