L-39 Pilot Experience



You stand in front of a flight bunker on the airfield. Alongside waits the L-39ZO "Albatross", world's most successful training jet. And now it's neck or nothing! You have passed the theory test, and now it's your chance to get to know flight reality during a ride. Will you seize it?

In the late morning you have arrived at the airfield. With lunch in the tower restaurant there came first information about training schedule, flight program and updated weather conditions.

Our L39ZO Albatross on the air base

Then you have donned your flight overall and immediately got into a concentrated Jet Flight Safety briefing, starting with aerodynamics, engine technology, the Auxillery Power Unit (APU) and followed by flight manoeuvres and low level flight rules, all according to your personal copy of the flight manual. You have trained the emergency egress and know how to handle the ejection seat.

The mission briefing has informed you on local airspace structures and prevailing weather conditions. Your flight equipment now is perfectly familiar to you: flight suit, helmet, oxygen mask, radio connection and rescue kit. And you have passed the terminatory theory check, that is to say, you have reached at least 75 of 100 possible points in the test.

Finally, the pilot has given you technical instructions to the cockpit and its instruments straight on the aeroplane. And now it's your time to decide: Do you want to accept the offer of a free ride? But this is no question; you feel very well prepared for such an adventure.

The Albatross during take-off

Thus you give your pilot a confident smile and a thumbs-up. You climb into the cockpit seat behind him and are buckled up by an instructor. The pilot starts the engine and steers the machine to the takeoff point. 90% power, brakes on, temperature good, oil pressure good, RPM good; cleared for takeoff. And then it's all action: 3600 lbs thrust in the small of your back and take off with 230 km/h. The undercarriage is pulled in, and the speed is increased.

A 90 curve sets you with 250 knots = 465 km/h on the course. There in the barred flying range, the pilot flies manoeuvres at your request: natural figures like roles and steep turns or advanced aerobatics with loopings, stable turns or barrel rolls.

If you still feel good after that, the pilot hands the yoke over to you for some minutes, but you will always feel his hands on his rudder. However, please do not exaggerate; otherwise, the pilot will fetch back the control in split seconds.

Take-off at the air base

After about 30 minutes of flight time the airport comes to view again and after a passing-by of the tower and a low-level flight over the runway you fly one last curve and glide to the landing. You have made it out; as one of the first civilians you have flown a fighter jet over Europe. After having steady ground under the feet again, you do receive, after a small photo session with pilot and aircraft, the certificate of successful participation in the jet pilot training.

This jet pilot's adventure is offered exclusively by Space Affairs.

Technical data of the L-39C 'Albatros':
- Manufracturing country: Czechoslovakia
- Training and reconnaissance plane, light attack hunter
- First rollout: 1972
- Turbines: Iwtschenkow AI-25 Sapphire TL - thrust 4,000 lbs
- Speed: 754 km/h (Mach 0.8)
- Maximum flight altitude: 13.500 m, reachout: 1,000 km
- Length: 12,1 m
- Wing span: 9,4 m
- Seats: 2