Lined up in a hangar and shrouded in silver, they make for a surreal, almost ghostly sight. These 30-odd mothballed L-159 training jets, covered in protective foil, never even see the sun, let alone take to the skies and tear across the countryside.
Dormant for years and kept inside a specially made facility at the headquarters of Aero Vodochody north of Prague in the Czech Republic, they epitomize the traumas the old “socialist” industry has faced in the modern era. The L-159 first flew in 1997 and was the latest iteration of two all-conquering Soviet-era aircraft, the L-29 and L-39, which during the Cold War were cranked out by the thousands at Aero Vodochody’s Odolena Voda plant.
But, apart from selling 72 to the Czech military – nearly half of which are sitting idle in the hangar – the company has failed to secure any orders for the L-159.
For the complete story by Daniel Bardsley of The Prague Post, click here.