The L-39 Albratros is the most successful jet trainer aircraft in the world. Since the 1970s, nearly 3,000 have been manufactured and they have taken to the sky in more than one-third of all nations. Omnipol recently held a gathering of representatives of states which have received exported L-39s in Vodochody, Central Bohemia. “Historically, it was the first ever meeting of users of this favourite plane, which we organised in cooperation with Aero Vodochody and the Czech Air Force. The objective was to group the community of users of the legendary Albratros and secure an exchange of opinions and experiences in one place at one time directly at the premises of the producer,” said Omnipol spokesman Milan Řepka. Deliveries of the Albatros have, for example, gone to North Africa, South Asia and Central and South America. To date, Omnipol has devoted the training of pilots to the L-39 platform. But last year it entered the L-39NG project as an investor. The improved Albratros was unveiled at Britain’s Farnborough Air Show two years ago. The core change is provided by the FJ44-4M Turbofan engine provided by American firm Williams.
Apart from its more economical jet propulsion system, the new generation plane is lighter, faster and can fly further. Other improvements include new wings with integrated fuel tanks, avionics and communication systems aligned with contemporary demands and a configurable glass cockpit with bird strike protection.
Aero and Omnipol offer basic training solutions for pilots with easy maintenance and minimal background logistical requirements. The commercial strategy is to address a market gap being created by jet trainers that are becoming obsolete. Across the next 15 years, the technical lives of two-thirds of all similar planes around the world will come to an end. The L-39NG project offers the client the option of a first-phase re-engining of an existing plane – engines are fast-ageing components – followed by the provision of an entire aircraft.