Aero L-29 Delfín
SCALE & KIT
1/48 AMK AvantGarde Model Kits/Eduard
The Aero L-29 Delfín (English: Dolphin, NATO reporting name: Maya) is a military jet trainer developed and manufactured by Czechoslovakian aviation manufacturer Aero Vodochody. It is the country’s first locally designed and constructed jet aircraft, as well as likely being the biggest aircraft industrial programm to take place in any of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) countries except the Soviet Union.
In response to a sizable requirement for a common jet-propelled trainer to be adopted across the diverse nations of the Eastern Block, Aero decided to embark upon their own design project with a view to suitably satisfying this demand. On 5 April 1959, an initial prototype, designated as the XL-29, performed its maiden flight. The L-29 was selected to become the standard trainer for the air forces of Warsaw Pact nations, for which it was delivered from the 1960s onward. During the early 1970s, the type was succeeded in the principal trainer role by another Aero-built aircraft, the L-39 Albatros, heavily contributing to a decline in demand for the earlier L-29 and the end of its production during 1974.
In excess of 2,000 L-29 Delfins were ultimately supplied to the Soviet Air Force. Like the majority of Soviet-operated aircraft, it acquired its own NATO reporting name, “Maya.” In the trainer role, the L-29 enabled air forces to adopt an “all-through” training regime using only jet-powered aircraft, entirely replacing earlier piston-engine types.
The Delfin served in basic, intermediate and weapons training roles. For this latter mission, they were equipped with hardpoints to carry gun-pods, bombs or rockets; according to Fredrikson, the L-29 functioned as a relatively good ground-attack aircraft when deployed as such. It saw several uses in this active combat role, such as when a number of Egyptian L-29s were dispatched on attack missions against Israeli ground forces during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The type was also used in anger during the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s. On 16 July 1975, a Czechoslovak Air Force L-29 reportedly shot down a Polish civilian biplane piloted by Dionizy Bielański, who had been attempting to defect to the West.
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