Aero L-29 Delfín
Czechsolvak, Two-seat Basic and Advance Jet Trainer (NATO code name Maya)

Archive Photos 1

1968 Aero Vodochody L-29 Delphín (N3098E, c/n 892817)

1968 Aero Vodochody L-29 Delphín (N7149E, c/n 591328)

1968 Aero Vodochody L-29 Delphín (N700PB, s/n 8928140)

Overview 2

AERO, Aero Národní Podnik (Aero National Corporation) perpetuates the name of one of the three founder companies of the Czechoslovak aircraft industry, which began activities shortly after the end of World War I with the manufacture of Austrian Phönix fighters. Subsequent well-known products include the A 11 military general-purpose biplane and its derivatives, and license manufacture of the French Bloch 200 Twin-engine bomber. The present works was established on 1 July 1953, since when it has seven times received the Red Banner award of the Ministry of Engineering and UVOS, as well as many other awards including those of Exemplary Exporting Corporation and the Order of Labor. Its current products include the Aero L-29 Delphín jet trainer, details of which are given below.

History, Design and Development 2

The Aero L-29 Delfín (Czech: Dolphín, NATO reporting name: Maya) was a military jet trainer aircraft that became the standard jet trainer for the air forces of Warsaw Pact nations in the 1960s. It was Czechoslovakia’s first locally designed and built jet aircraft. In the late 1950s, the Soviet Air Force was seeking a jet-powered replacement for its fleet of piston-engined trainers, and this requirement was soon broadened to finding a trainer aircraft that could be adopted in common by Eastern Bloc air forces. Aero’s response, the prototype XL-29 designed by Z. Rublic and K. Tomáš first flew on 5 April 1959, powered by a British Bristol Siddeley Viper engine. The second prototype was powered by the Czech-designed M701 engine, which was used in all subsequent aircraft.

The basic design concept was to produce a straight forward, easy-to-build and operate aircraft. Simplicity and ruggedness were stressed with manual flight controls, large flaps and the incorporation of perforated air brakes on the fuselage sides providing stable and docile flight characteristics, leading to an enviable safety record for the type. The sturdy L-29 was able to operate from grass, sand or unprepared fields. Both student pilot and instructor had ejection seats, and were positioned in tandem, under separate canopies with a slightly raised instructor position.

In 1961, the L-29 was evaluated against the PZL TS-11 Iskra and Yakovlev Yak-30 and emerged the winner. Poland chose to pursue the development of the TS-11 Iskra anyway, but all other Warsaw Pact countries adopted the Delfín under the agreements of COMECON. Production began April 1963 and continued for 11 years, with 3,500 eventually built. A dedicated, single-seat, aerobatic version was developed as the L-29A Akrobat. A reconnaissance version with nose-mounted cameras was built as the L-29R.

Operational History 2

The Delfin served in basic, intermediate and weapons training roles. For this latter mission, they were equipped with hardpoints to carry gunpods, bombs or rockets, and thus armed, Egyptian L-29s were sent into combat against Israeli tanks during the Yom Kippur War. The L-29 was supplanted in the inventory of many of its operators by the Aero L-39 Albatros. More than 2,000 L-29s were supplied to the Soviet Air Force, acquiring the NATO reporting name Maya.

As a trainer, the L-29 enabled air forces to adopt an all-through training on jet aircraft, replacing earlier piston-engined types. On October 2, 2007, an unmodified L-29 was used for the worlD’s first jet flight powered solely by 100% biodiesel fuel. Pilots Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante flew their Delphín Jet at Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada in order to promote environmentally friendly fuels in aviation.

L-29 Delphín Operators 2



Specifications (Aero L-29 Delphín) 2




Tail Unit

Landing Gear

Power Plant



Electronics and Equipment


Dimensions, External


Weights and Loading

Performance at AUW of 7,165 lb = 3,250 kg)


  1. Shupek, John. Photos, copyright © 1992, 1999, 2004, 2006 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aero L-29 Delphín
  3. Taylor, John W.R. Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1969-70. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969


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