Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin
The Czech designed and produced Aero L-29 Delfin (translating to "Dolphin"; NATO designation of "Maya") series was a highly utilized Cold War jet trainer aircraft for the Soviet Union and its satellite states. The twin-seat aircraft was capable of speeds over 400 miles per hour and a ceiling of over 36,000 feet.
Early design studies for a two-seat jet trainer were conducted by K Tomas and Z Rubic in 1955. The L-29 features a T tail and can operate from grass, waterlogged, and dirt strips.
The single engine L-29 was built from two XL-29-designated prototypes - one fitted with a British Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet engine and another fitted with an indigenous 1,960 lb thrust M 701c 500 turbojet, first flown on 5 April 1959. The XL-29 powered by an M 701 turbojet flew for the first time on April 5, 1960.
Further development saw a three-way competitive fly-off occur against the Yak-30 design and the PZL Mielec TS-11 Iskra with the L-29 coming out ahead (Poland would go on to utilize the TS-11 trainer however). Placed in production in 1963, it subsequently became a standard trainer with many Warsaw Pact and other countries.
The last of over 3,600 rolled off the production line in 1974. Almost all production was of the basic aircraft variant (codename Maya), although two other variants did appear.
The Soviet Union alone took over 2,000 Delfins, while significant numbers also served in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Hungary. In these countries the Delfin was used in all-through training from ab iniito to advanced stages.
Small numbers of a single seat L-29A Delfin Akrobats were built for aerobatics while a prototype L-29R dedicated attack aircraft was also built.