First flown in 1975 in the original Z 50 L version, the Zlin Z-50 is an all-metal low-wing monoplane with a mid-fin tailplane braced by two struts that attach at the bottom of a tapering vertical fin. It has a fixed-spring gear and a Lycoming AEIO-540-D1B5, putting out 260 hp to a three-blade Hoffmann wood-fiberglass propeller driven through a constant-speed hub. The original prototype that appeared in the Zlin literature apparently had six short stacks that exited from the sides of the cowl, but the noise was unbelievable; they had to go to a pair of collectors that exit at the rear of the lower cowl lip. It has an empty weight of 1,254 pounds in aerobatic configuration and an aerobatic performing weight of 1,584 pounds. All up maximum gross weight is 1,760 pounds, and the Zlin is stressed to plus nine or minus six Gs. The wing is fabricated entirely with round-head rivets, apparently for strength. The Zlin 50 has a truly impressive roll rate, the product of very generous aileron area for its size and weight; its wing span in aerobatic trim is about 28 feet, and it is about 21 and a half feet long. The Z-50 has a symmetrical wing section without dihedral, a single-seat cabin under a one-piece plexiglas canopy and full inverted systems are standard. The wing area is 120 square feet; with a power loading of 5.5 pounds per horsepower and a maximum rate of climb of around 3,000 fpm, the airplane will possess the vertical capability the elder Zlin lacked. The structure is principally aluminum, with some fabric covered portions and a fiberglass cowling.
Moravan Aeroplanes built the Z-50 as a certified aircraft in the standard category in the Czech Republic.
Eighty-one were built in the various sub-types from 1976 until the '90s.
The Zlin 50L has a 260-hp Lycoming modified by the Czechs to run all-ways-up -and a three-blade German composite propeller.
The Czech team flew five 50 Ls at the 1976 world contest in Russia, and despite the newness of the type, came second in the team prize and third in the men's individual championships. The undercarriage is of titanium spring.
There appeared to be no adverse aileron yaw, which was remarkable in view of the almost full-span control surfaces. They had an odd tab arrangement: the left aileron had a conventional geared tab; the right one worked through a cam, so that at small deflections it was an anti-balance tab, but at larger ones it reverted to acting as a conventional geared tab. The symmetrical wing was thinner at the tip, giving it a washout effect both erect and inverted.
It is a single-seat, low-wing monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and fixed undercarriage. Built predominantly of anodised aluminium, with fabric covered tail and fibreglass engine cowls, the Z-50LS is powered by the 300-hp Lycoming AEIO-L1B5D, driving a three-blade composite Hoffmann propeller.
Later came the Z 50 LS aerobatic version.
Engine: Lycoming AEIO-L1B5D, 300 hp
Engine: Lycoming AIO-540, 260hp
Wing span: 27 ft 11 in
Length: 21 ft 2 in
Top speed: 180mph