TYPE: Two seat basic and advanced jet trainer
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Czech Republic
POWERPLANT: One 8.78kN (1960lb) Motorlet M 701 c 500 turbojet.
PERFORMANCE: Max speed at 16,400ft 655km/h (353kt), 620km/h (335kt) at sea level, cruising speed at 16,400ft 545km/h (294kt). Max initial rate of climb 2755ft/min. Time to 16,400ft 8min, time to 36,100ft 25min. Service ceiling 36,100ft. Ferry range with drop tanks 895km (482nm), range with standard fuel 640km (345nm).
WEIGHTS: Empty equipped 2365kg (5212lb), normal takeoff 3280kg (7230lb), max takeoff 3540kg (7805lb).
DIMENSIONS: Wing span 10.29m (33ft 9in), length 10.81m (35ft 6in), height 3.13m (10ft 3in). Wing area 19.9m2 (213sq ft).
ACCOMMODATION: Seating for two in tandem.
ARMAMENT: Max warload of 200kg on two underwing hardpoints (one per wing). Armament can include two 7.62mm gun pods, or two 100kg (220lb) bombs, eight light unguided rockets, or two drop tanks.
OPERATORS: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, Romania, Syria.
HISTORY: One of the Czech aircraft industry's most successful aircraft designs, the L-29 Delfin saw widespread use in the Soviet Union as that country's primary advanced jet trainer for more than a decade from the early 1960s.
Early designs studies for a two seat jet engined trainer were conducted by K. Tomas and Z. Ruble in 1955. Features of the resulting L-29 Delfin (Dolphin) include its design concept of simplicity. Examples of this include easy construction and maintenance and docile handling qualities. Other design features are typical of jet trainers of the era, including a small turbojet engine, straight wing, tandem seating and lightweight ejection seats. Unlike many of its contemporaries and later jet trainers, the L-29 features a T tail and can operate from grass, waterlogged and dirt strips.
The first XL-29 prototype was powered by a Bristol Siddeley Viper engine and flew for the first time on April 5 1959. A second prototype flew in July 1960, powered by the indigenously developed M 701 turbojet. The following year the Delfin was pitted against the Yak-30 and PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskra in a competitive fly-off. The result of that competition saw the Delfin equip the air forces of every Warsaw Pact nation except for Poland. The Soviet Union alone took delivery of more than 2000 Delfins, while significant numbers also served with Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Hungary. In these countries the Delfin was used in all-through training from ab initio to advanced stages. The first Delfins were delivered in 1963, the last of over 3600 built rolled off the production line in 1974.
Almost all production was of the basic trainer variant (which was given the NATO codename 'Maya'), although two other variants did appear. Small numbers of single seat L-29A Delfin Akrobats were built for aerobatics while a prototype L-29R dedicated attack aircraft was also built. Total L-29 production was over 3000.