First pre-series L-39NG flies

Aero Vodochody has flown its second L-39NG (Next-Generation) advanced jet trainer. The aircraft, MSN 7004, is the company's first pre-series example.

The flight lasted for 32 minutes - took place on December 9 - at Aero Vodochody's facility in the Czech Republic under the controls of company pilots, Vladimír Továrek and Vytautas Požela.

As of December 2019, Aero Vodochody has produced four L-39NG aircraft, three of which are prototypes, each with different dedicated testing missions. The fourth is the pre-series production aircraft, 7004. All four aircraft have been produced within the last two years.

Aero's active L-39NG prototype aircraft. Aero Vodochody

L-39NG, MSN 7003, has just finished fatigue testing and will continue being evaluated on at the VZLÚ (Czech Aerospace Research Centre). 

MSN 7002, is still undergoing a static testing programme - which began in June 2019 and will conclude in mid-2020.

The flight-test aircraft, MSN 7001 and 7004, will continue with trials, joined by serial 2626 - a technological demonstrator which is a former L-39C Albatros, upgraded with a new engine, avionics and other modern technologies employed by the L-39NG. The L-39C is the Cold War-era predecessor to the NG and first flew in November 1968 - more than 50 years ago.

L-39NG, MSN 7004, during its maiden flight. Aero Vodochody

Aero Vodochody is aiming to complete certification of the advanced jet trainer by the third quarter of 2020. Following this, 7001 will continue the type's certification in a light attack role which is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2021.

Dieter John, president and CEO of Aero Vodochody Aerospace, said: “Today, we mark another important milestone of the L-39NG project. The 7004 has joined as planned the 7001 aircraft and the technology demonstrator aircraft (2626) in the flight programme now, so we can speed up the flight-testing according to our plan and get the advanced trainer certification in the third quarter of 2020."

“The 7004 is also the first pre-serial aircraft which has been built according to serial aircraft final specification and provides additional opportunities for target customers to testfly and experience the outstanding capabilities, performance and flight characteristics of that next generation training and light attack aircraft," he added.

L-39NG 7004 formed up with 7001 and former L-39C 2626 during its first flight. Aero Vodochody

The twin-seat L-39NG is powered by a single Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan, giving it a maximum speed of 482mph (775km/h), a range of 1,400nm (1,610 miles, 2,590km) and a total endurance of 4 hours 30 minutes (without external fuel tanks).