22 December 2018 – The first pre-serial L-39NG trainer and light attack aircraft with serial number 7001 made its first flight on 22nd December, at Aero Vodochody Airport. The new generation of the Czech jet trainer was piloted by Aero’s test pilots David Jahoda and Vladimír Továrek. At 10:38am, the aircraft took off from the runway, climbed up to 5,000 ft. and after 26 minutes successfully landed at Aero Vodochody. The maturity of the platform allowed the execution of some development tests during the flight.
Two months after the introduction of the latest jet trainer at the rollout ceremony on October 12, the first L-39NG proved its readiness to flight and to start certification tests. The aircraft has flown in a configuration that is representative of serial aircraft including final upgraded wet wing and air inlets. This step forward consolidate even much further Aero goal to achieve type certification by the end of 2019.
“This pre-series first flight represents a significant milestone sending an important message to our customers: We can fully fulfil our commitments and we will be ready to deliver the first aircraft in the first quarter of 2020,” said Giuseppe Giordo, President & CEO of AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE. The program is running according to the plan showing its full maturity thanks to a great commitment of Aero, Czech institutions and partners of the project.
“As the strategic partner of the project we are very confident, that this important step will further strengthen trust of the whole aerospace community in the new aircraft and will help to make this great project very successful,” added Jiří Podpěra, President of OMNIPOL.
The L-39NG is a single-engine two-seater with staggered seating and an advanced cockpit design that includes full glass cockpit, a sophisticated on board virtual training system and a Helmet Mounted Display. The L-39NG is a key component of an innovative training concept developed by Aero that includes state-of-the-art ground-based training facilities, new learning methods and environment and extensive use of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence technologies. The L-39NG has been designed as a maintenance-friendly aircraft for many decades of reliable service.
Those capabilities enable the L-39NG to be the only available platform on the market capable of performing basic, advanced and LIFT/OCU training at the cost of a turboprop. „The L-39NG performed extremely well and fully met our expectations in terms of stability and controllability. We could even perform some tests like configuration changes, acceleration up to 200 knots, turns to 30, 45, and 60 degrees and slow down to approach speed. All installed systems worked perfectly and outlook outside the cockpit was excellent. The L-39NG is a completely new aircraft and I believe, it has great potential to become a perfect trainer for the 4th and 5th generation fighters as well as a light attack platform,” said David Jahoda, Aero Test Pilot.
During the 2018, Aero announced agreements with the first customers. The first customer the Republic of Senegal was announced in April and was followed by Portuguese private company SkyTech and American private company RSW announced at Farnborough Air Show in July. Orders from those customers will secure the production of 38 aircraft. Currently, Aero is also finalizing agreement also with domestic customer LOM Praha, the Czech state military company and pilot training provider, and carrying out promising negotiations with other potential customers.
The L-39NG project is also supported by Czech state financial institutions Czech Export Bank and export insurance company EGAP.