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Fri, Mar 09, 2007

It Can Fly! Aero-Vodochody's First L-159T1 Takes To The Skies

Rebuilt L-159A Part Of Four-Plane Czech Air Force Order

On Thursday, the first out of a total of four two-seat training L-159T1 aircraft for the Czech Air Force (CzAF) took off from the factory airport of Aero Vodochody a.s. and made its maiden flight. The two-seat training aircraft, s/n 6069, was rebuilt from originally single-seat CzAF L-159A aircraft.

The prototype aircraft is the first off-the-shelf L-159T1. Test pilots Rostislav Stroin and Vladimir Kvarda climbed to 33,000 feet during the initial flight.

"The maiden flight of the L-159T1 proves especially the ability of Aero to satisfy requests of the customer -– prepare an economically most optimal and fastest solution according to the customer's very requests, maximally utilizing existing components and with relatively fast delivery compared to production of a completely new aircraft," said Aero President Peter Ondro. "All four two-seat L-159T1 aircraft will be delivered to the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic (MoD) by the end of this year. One of our main priorities is this precise support of the L-159 fleet in the service with the CzAF."

Officials with the Czech planemaker tell ANN the maiden flight gives potential customers for the two-seat aircraft a strong signal the company can deliver on its commitments, even in the wake of recent financial losses.

"Our assignment for the management of Aero is clear -– we will not only meet all obligations towards the Army of the Czech Republic, also the capacity of aircraft production will not be reduced in any way during the restructuring process. The new L-159T1 aircraft is tailor-made for the CzAF, but at the same time it can succeed also on foreign markets," said Marek Dospiva, Shareholder of Penta Investments, owner of Aero.

Next up for the L-159T1 will be a series of ground and flight development tests, followed by certification by MoD authorities. Operation-evaluation tests by the Army of the Czech Republic will follow that... and after their accomplishment, the aircraft will be delivered to the customer, the Czech MoD.

The contract on four rebuilt single-seat L-159 aircraft into two-seat versions was signed on June 26, 2006. Besides the production itself, it contains delivery of spare parts, ground support equipment, documentation and ground and flight personnel training.

FMI: www.aero.cz

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