The Czechoslovakian L-39 was built as the successor to their earlier trainer, the L-29 Delfin. Design work began in 1966, and the first prototype made its initial flight on 4 November 1968. The idea of the design was to marry an efficient, powerful turbofan engine to a sleek, streamlined fuselage, resulting in a strong, economical performer which would become the next standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact. Full-scale production was delayed until late 1972 due to apparent problems with the design of the air intakes, but these difficulties were overcome and the type went on to be a great success with the Soviet, Czech and East German air forces, among others.
Excellent handling characteristics within the whole flight envelope
Operation capability on grass strips and semi-prepared airstrips
Excellent visibility from both cockpits
Easy to maintain and service
Low operational cost
The practical suitability of L-39 aircraft for training tasks is demonstrated daily in military service of more than 30 Air Forces in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The entire L-39 fleet, covering more than 2,800 delivered L-39 aircraft worldwide, has accumulated over 4,000,000 flying hours.
Engine: One 3,792-lb thrust Ivchenko AI-25-TL
Weight: Empty 7,340 lbs., Max Takeoff 11,618 lbs
Wing Span: 31ft. 0.5in. Length: 40ft. 5in. Height: 15ft. 5.5in.
Maximum Speed at 19,600 ft: 485 mph
Maximum Speed at Sea Level: 435 mph
Ceiling: 37,730 ft.
Range: 528 miles with internal fuel; 995 miles with external tanks
Number Built: 2800+
Number Still Airworthy: Unknown number in military service.
Approximately 300 flying in private ownership
Vandy 1 Roman 86
The black L-39 is painted in the colors of the Navy’s VX-9 test and evaluation squadron. Known as ‘Vandy 1”, this paint scheme, and bunny tail insignia, honors the men and women of the test community and their incredible contributions to Naval Aviation. This squadron, based at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, is charged with the operational evaluation of the weapons systems and equipment of attack, fighter, and electronic warfare aircraft, and to develop tactical procedures for their employment.
To read more about the history of this iconic paint scheme, click here
The blue and white L-39 is painted in the colors of VFA-106 Gladiators, at NAS Oceana. The jet is a tribute to the squadron’s history of excellence, dating back to 1945 when it was known as Bomber-Fighter Squadron 17 (VBF-17) on the USS Hornet flying F6F-5 Hellcats. Today this squadron carries on the mission of preparing tomorrow’s F/A-18 Hornet aircrews for the fleet and have been at NAS Oceana since 1999.