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Let L-13 Blanik




Designed by Karel Dlouhy as a two-place training and club aircraft. The cantilever shoulder wings are characterised by a moderate aspect ratio (13.7) and 5° forward sweep at the quarter-chord line; wing tip 'salmon' fairings are fitted. The wings are all-metal two-spar structures, the main spar forming a torsion box with the leading edge, and each wing is secured by three fuselage attachments. The metal ailerons and slotted area increasing flaps are fabric-covered, and there are light alloy DFS-type air brakes above and below the wings. The all-metal fuselage is a semi-monocoque of oval cross-section built in two halves riveted together in the vertical plane, with riveted skin, and the cantilever all-metal tail unit has fabric-covered elevators and rudder, with a controllable trim tab in each elevator. The horizontal tail surfaces fold upwards parallel to the rudder for transport. The landing gear consists of a partially retractable monowheel, with an oleo-pneumatic shock absorber and mechanical brake. The two pilots sit in tandem in a partlyupholstered cockpit with heat-insulated walls, under a sideways-opening canopy hinged to starboard which is jettisonable in flight. Optional 'extras' include, amongst other things, electric gyros, navigation lights, radio, a battery and rear compartment blinds for instrument flying instruction, while more unusual 'extras' are a water ballast system to increase the wing loading for solo flight and skis for operation on snow.
Design work on the Blanik started in January 1955 and construction of two prototypes began in August of that year; the first flight was made in March 1956 and 2,094 Blaniks had been built by the end of 1975.
The LET L-13 Blanik has been exported to more than 40 countries, more than 2,000 of about 2,500 sold by the summer of 1977 having been exported abroad, including more than 1,000 to the Soviet Union, about 200 to the USA, about 150 to the United Kingdom and more than 100 each to Australia and Canada. At least 2650 were produced by Let, and under licence (including by Aero circa 1956) in all metal, except fabric covered control surfaces.
Production continued at the LET Narodni Podnik (Let National Corporation) and is now getting close to the 3,000 mark; like all Czechoslovak aircraft, export sales of the L-13 Blanik are handled by the Omnipol Foreign Trade Corporation.


The Blanik has set up no fewer than 13 international records recognised by the FAI, as well as many other national gliding records, and in 1969 a particularly notable flight across the Andes in a Blanik by the Chilean pilot Alejo Williamson, taking 5hr 51 min, won him an FAI Gold Medal. The Blanik is intended for training in all categories from elementary to blind flying and is also suitable for high performance flight. It is fully aerobatic when flown solo, and can do basic aerobatic manoeuvres when carrying two pilots.


The L-13 (TJ) is an experimental motor glider fitted with a jet engine TJ100 with take-off thrust 1,0 kN from PBS (První brněnská strojírna Velká Bíteš). It was used as a single-seat motor glider.
Let Blanik L-13 TJ
At least 2 L-13 has been converted to TJ version, the first one OK-1840 (cn 172016) fitted with a TJ100C and the second OK-3801 (cn 172602) with a TJ100A. Both were used by PBS for TJ100 experimetal tests.
The L-13J was a powered version of the L-13 Blanik tandem two-seater trainer, fitted with a newly-developed 42hp Avia Jawa (Motorlet) M-150 two-cycle three-cylinder inverted air-cooled engine, driving a V-210 two-bladed wooden tractor propeller. This auxiliary engine, which was housed in a non-retractable glassfibre cowling aft of the cockpit, could be stopped and restarted in flight to prolong periods of soaring flight. The L-13J prototype, OK-9821, first flew on 26 March 1968 but only a small number were built and this variant did not go into large-scale production.
LET L-13-2M Blanik

The first powered version of the Blanik had been the XL-13M, a 1964 conversion with a 26hp Walter engine on a non-retractable mounting aft of the cockpit, and this was later followed by a number of other powered conversions of the Czech glider. The XL-13T was similar to the L-13J, with a 35hp Motorlet M-151 also on a non-retractable dorsal mounting; the prototype, registered OK-62, first flew in 1970. The following year a twin-engined conversion was produced by the German firm of Sigmund Flugtechnik. Designated L-13-2M, this version of the Blanik, registered D-KACS, was fitted with two 44hp Lloyd LS-400 two-cylinder two-stroke mounted in overwing nacelles in a conventional leading edge installation and driving two-blade fixed-pitch propellers; there is a small outrigger wheel under each wing to ensure ground clearance for the airscrews.

A second foreign conversion was produced in 1975 by the Russian LAK factory (Litovskaya Aviatsionnaya Konstruktsiya). LAK fitted a 68hp Limbach SL 1700E1 'flat four' engine into the nose of a standard L-13 Blanik, the resulting aircraft being designated LAK-6 and serving as a flying test bed for a new motor glider of plastics construction, of which a prototype was being built in 1977. LAK became the sole repair and overhaul centre in the USSR for the Blanik, more than 300 of which had been overhauled by mid-1977.
Another version with the engine in the nose was the L-13SW with a 65hp Walter Mikron IIIA in-line powerplant; the prototype of this, registered OK-068, first flew on 10 May 1978.
L-13 SW Vivat


In 1976 a conversion of the L-13 with a 50hp Wankel twin lobe rotary engine appeared; this motor, built by RFB (Rheinflugzeugbau), was carried dorsally on a non-retractable mounting. In 2020 the last two were owned by Marc Scheffler. A similar mounting is being used by Mr Pentti Alanne of Finland in his conversion of an L-13 to have a Volkswagen engine; this was expected to make its first flight in 1981.
In Germany Blanik D-KOEB has been modified to flight test an RFB SG 85 fan pod engine, which is mounted dorsally and gives 209.5 lb st at full throttle at sea level. This powerplant, made by Rhein-Flugzeughau GmbH, is a fixed-geometry pod marketed as a complete unit for fitting to powered gliders or ultra light aircraft. It consists of dual rotating combustion Wankel-type engines mounted in tandem, and driving a three-blade fan in a circular fan duct.


L-13J - motor glider
XL-13M - motor glider (Walter A)
XL-13T - motor glider (Trabant engine)


Kensgaila RT-7




LET Blanik L-13
Wing span: 16.2m / 53 ft 1.75 in.
Wing area: 19.1 sq.m /206 sq.ft
Length: 27 ft 6.5 in.
Aspect ratio: 13.7
Max TO wt: 500kg / 1100 lb
Empty wt: 292kg / 644 lb.
Useful load: 208kg / 458 lb
Water ballast: 170 lb
Wing loading: 26.17kg/sq.m / 5.35 lb/sq.ft.
Max speed: 136 kt
Rough air speed: 76 kt.
Stall: 34 kt.
Lift to drag: 28 @ 90 kph / 49 kt / 56 mph.
Min Sink: 0.76 m/s / 2.5 fps / 1.48 kt @ 44 kt.
Seats: 2.


LET L-13 Blanik
Span: 53 ft 2 in
Wing area: 206.1 sqft
Airfoil: NACA 63(2) A-615 root, -612, tip.
Aspect ratio: 13.7
Length: 27 ft 6.5 in
Height: 6 ft 10 in
Empty weight: 677 lb
Max weight: 1,102 lb
Max speed: 157 mph (in smooth air)
Max aero-tow speed: 87 mph IAS
Min sinking speed: 2.79ft/sec at 47 mph IAS
Best glide ratio: 28:1 at 55 mph IAS

Aero L 13 Blanik
Length: 27.559 ft / 8.4 m
Height: 6.89 ft / 2.1 m
Wingspan : 53.15 ft / 16.2 m
Aspect ratio: 13.7
Wing area: 206.131 sqft / 19.150 sq.m
Max take off weight: 1102.5 lb / 500.0 kg
Weight empty: 643.9 lb / 292.0 kg
Max. weight carried: 458.6 lb / 208.0 kg
Max. speed: 130 kts / 240 km/h
Landing speed: 31 kts / 58 km/h
Cruising speed: 49 kts / 90 km/h
Wing load: 5.33 lbs/sq.ft / 26.0 kg/sq.m
Glide ratio: 28.0
Crew: 2


Span: 53 ft 2 in
Length: 27 ft 6.5 in
Height: 6 ft 10 in
Wing area: 206.1 sq ft
Aspect ratio: 13.7
Empty weight: 794 lb
Max weight: 1,228 lb (two pilots)
Max speed: 92 mph
Cruising speed: 80 mph
Best glide ratio: 21:1
Normal range: 112 miles






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