The first Czech private “Albatros” plane, OK-JET
Following is an example of a truly remarkable story of the first private Czech „Albatros“ plane owned by flying enthusiast and pilot, Mr. Pavel Pichal.
Let’s shortly follow the journey of this plane from the assembly line, through it’s service in USSR Air Force and after its break down in Ukraine Air Force all the way to it’s current base in Plzen-Line airbase in Czech Republic.
In 1981 the plane was made by Aero Vodochody as a part of total 35 planes of 19th production batch in modification C1 (serial number 131904) and delivered to the customer in USSR. The plane served in USSR Air Force in Ukraine Cernigov Airbase, using call sign „Yellow 53“ and has been used not only by Air Force pilots, but also as a training plane for Soviet Union kosmonaut‘s (astronaut’s) group.
After break up of USSR in 1991, the plane still stays in Ukraine along another hundreds of Albatroses. Country has no need for such a mass of training planes and so they are stocked and offered for sale to potential customers. One of them became also enthusiast and pilot from Plzen, Mr. Pavel Pichal. After long and difficult negotiations, visits in Ukraine and his personal selection of the plane he concludes final sale agreement with Ukraine stated owned company „Ukrspets“.
In February 2003, dismounted plane was loaded on truck and after two and half days long trip it’s finally delivered to Czech Republic. First stored in the Aeronautical Research and Test Institute in Praha-Kbely till July. After that, the plane is transported to it’s current base in Plzen-Line. Here, in co-operation with manufacturer - Aero Vodochody, it was refurbished, demilitarized and equipped by new systems and avionics. For example, a complete overhaul of hydrolic systems has been made, original 100 liters side tanks were replaced by 230 liters tanks from L-39MS / L159 plane.
The plane made it’s first engine tests in July 12, 2003. After more than one year of hard work, the plane could finally take off to it’s first official test flying under supervision of manufacturer – Aero Vodochody, it’s test pilot Mr. Vladimir Kvarda and chief mechanic Mr. Frantisek Vacin. Since this date, the plane is also registered by the Civil Aviation Authority in “Experimental” cathegory under registration mark OK-JET.
In following day, the plane is painted all in black color RAL9005 with yellow add-ons. In 13th August 2004 the plane undergone it’s second test flight on Plzeň-Líně Airbase and it’s officially introduced as the first private Albatros in service. It takes of at 10:20 from runway 24 of Plzen-Líně Airbase, piloted again by Mr. Vladimir Kvarda and with a member of the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Vladimir Chejnovsky on board. Since than, L-39 Albatros OK-JET plane is a welcomed guest of many airshows. In 2004 it took part on XV. Horácko Air Show in Henčov Airbase near Jihlava. During 2005 it took part in the following Airshows: 24-25June Memorial Air Show in Roudnice Nad Labem, September 11, Acrobatshow – Martin Stahlik’s Memorial in Dlouha Lhota by Příbram and many more regional airshows...