Established on 1 July 1953, Aero Vodochody is the successor to the Aero Aircraft factory founded in Prague in 1919. Over the years it has produced more than 11,000 aircraft, most notably the L-29 Delfin (3,665 built) and more than 2,800 L-39 Albatros jet trainers. Major current programme concerns the L159.
The company underwent a change of ownership as part of a restructuring programme approved on 31 July 1996, when it had yet to recover fully from debts occurring in 1990-91. It is now a joint-stock company in which the majority shareholder is the Czech government, through shares held by Letka a.s. (35.66 per cent) and the Konsolidacni Banka (29.00 per cent). From 17 August 1998, a further 35.29 per cent was acquired by Boeing Ceska s.r.o., a joint venture comprising Boeing and Czech Airlines (CSA), owned 90 per cent by Boeing and 10 per cent by CSA. The remaining 0.05 per cent of Aero is owned by other shareholders. Workforce at end of 2002 was 2,341.
Recently the company was reorganised into four main business units: Military Aircraft, Civil Aircraft, Aero Structures and Sikorsky. Current aircraft programmes are the L159 and the Ae 270 Ibis civil transport, in a 50/50 venture with AIDC of Taiwan. Delivery of the first L159As to the Czech Air Force enabled the company to return to an operating profit. In early 2003 the company was actively seeking a launch customer for the L159B, while by 5 December 2002 it had 67 firm orders and six options for the Ae270.
A deal with Sikorsky was announced in June 2000, under which Aero is undertaking fabrication and subassembly of S-76+ helicopter airframes (but not their dynamic systems). The agreement calls for delivery of 15 airframes per year over a seven-year period; first set, assembled from US-built kits, was redelivered to Sikorsky at Stratford, Connecticut, in January 2001. In-country manufacture by Aero had begun by the end of that year, with the number of airframes rising annually since then.
BAE Systems has indicated its interest in acquiring a stake in Aero if the Czech government should approve the purchase of JAS 39 Gripens for the Czech Air Force.
AERO TRADE A.S.
The Aero Trade joint-stock commercial company deals in military and civil aircraft, spare parts and airport equipment. The company is ready to organize modernization and repairs of Czech and Russian planes and helicopters.
In coopeartion with Russian companies
CZECH AIRCRAFT WORKS s.r.o.
In 1997 Zenair Ltd of Canada formed a joint venture with CZAW, established earlier that year, for manufacture in the Czech Republic of its STOL CH 701 and Zodiac CH 601 series of light aircraft. First Czech components were manufactured in 1998. Factory output comprised 30 in 1997, 44 in 1998 and 54 in 1999 and has now exceeded 100 per year. The STOL CH 801 and CH 2000 are now also available from CZAW. Workforce in 2002 was approximately 110.
CZAW offers the CH 601, 701 and 801 in three different stages of completion: as a factory-jigged, fast-build kit; and in full flyaway form with Rotax 912 engines, avionics, instruments and two-tone paint finish. A total of 85 CH 701s, with options for 48 more, was ordered by the Indian National Cadet Corps in late 2000 for the training of Indian Air Force pilots; 25 of these had been delivered by 21 February 2001. Development was completed in late 1998 of a modified CH 701 for ULV agricultural applications. A Zodiac floatplane, flown by CZAW's CEO, won the 1999 Schneider Cup seaplane race at Desenzano del Garda, Italy, on 19 September 1999, Additionally, CZAW is European agent for the AMD CH 2000.
CZAW produces a complete line of wheeled and non-wheeled aircraft floats, with displacements ranging from 250 to 1,000 kg (551 to 2,205 lb), suitable for such aircraft as the GlaStar, Kitfox, Zenair and Van's types. 'Jump-start' wings, ailerons, flaps and tail surfaces for the GlaStar kitplane, as well as wings for its German OMF-100-160 Symphony counterpart, are also manufactured.
In addition, CZAW refurbished the prototype Luscombe 8F under an agreement with Renaissance Aircraft LLC and Zenair Ltd.
The Evektor aircraft design office (workforce 150 in 1999) was formed in 1991, a major part of its initial work consisting of contribution to the designs of the L159 and Ae270 Ibis under contract to Aero Vodochody. On 2 February 1996 it acquired a 100 per cent shareholding in Aerotechnik CZ, and in 1996-97 the two companies (now a single joint-stock company) developed and delivered preseries and test front fuselage components of the L159 to Aero.
Aerotechnik was formed in 1970, originally as an enterprise of the former Czechoslovak defence organisation Svazarm. Its first aircraft programmes involved single- and two-seat rotorcraft. Two facilities, at Kunovice and Moravska Trebova, have a combined floor space of 7,340 m2 (79,000 sq ft). The combined Evektor-Aerotechnik workforce totalled 350 in mid-2000.
In recent years Aerotechnik produced kits for the Pottier P220 S Koala all-metal lightplane, powered by its own Mikron III engine. This design was further developed via the P220 UL into the EV-97 Eurostar with a Rotax 912 UL engine, and became the first aeroplane to bear the Evektor name. A VLA version of the Eurostar, the Harmony, followed in 2001.
Evektor-Aerotechnik assisted in early stages of the Wolfsberg Raven 257 programme, including assembly of the prototype. A separate joint venture was formed in October 1999 with GAIC of China, leading to establishment in June 2000 of Guizhou Evektor Aircraft Corporation for local production, sales and support of EV-AT aircraft in that country. The first EV-97 CKD kit for Chinese assembly was delivered in August 2000. This arrangement superseded that previously agreed for Guizhou to become a licensed production centre for the Raven 257.
On 26 July 2000, Evektor-Aerotechnik signed an agreement with Seabird Aviation Australia to manufacture and market the latter's Seeker SB7L-360 light observation aircraft. By 2002, nothing further had been heard of the venture, and it appears to have been discontinued.
Other activities include development and production of parts, jigs and tools for the aircraft industry; spares and components for light and ultralight aircraft; and the overhaul and re-engining of L-13SV Vivat and L-60 Brigadyr aircraft.
INTERPLANE spol s.r.o.
Interplane was created as an ultralight manufacturer in 1992; design and product development is by Gryf Development company at Hodonim. Earlier variations between versions led the company to rationalise its Skyboy and Griffon product line in 1999. There are now two basic versions of the Skyboy: the EX (standard version for European customers and US and Australian kitbuilders) and the UL (to US FAR Pt 103 ultralight standards). Earlier Griffons are now replaced by the UL 103 version for the US market. Griffons and Skyboys now flying in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and USA, as well as in Czech and Slovak Republics.
Long-term projects include P6 Diblik single-seat biplane (wing span 6.00 m; 19 ft 81/4 in, area 13.00 m2; 139.9 sq ft; MTOW 270 kg; 595 lb), P15 Classic two-seat ultralight (wing span 9.50 m; 31 ft 2 in, 73.5 kW; 98.6 hp Rotax 912 ULS, 81 kt; 150 km/h; 93 mph cruising speed) and P16 Nemesis improved version of Skyboy.
KAPPA 77 a.s.
Kappa established 1991, initially for machine manufacture; founders previously employed by Aero. Design of KP-2U began 1994; Kappa 77 a.s. created as subsidiary in June 1997; Sova production started 1998. Baron introduced in 2003. The company employs a workforce of 140 in its 4,250 m2 (45,750 sq ft).
BALONY KUBICEK spol s.r.o. (Kubicek Balloons Ltd)
First Kubicek hot-air balloon was manufactured in 1983 and was followed by about 50 more of Kubicek design by various state-owned copmpanies such as Aviatik and Aerotechnik. present company was formed as private enterprise in 1991 and began new range of hot-air balloons under BB series designations (total of over 230 produced by early 2003). Currently markets standard, ready-to-fly balloons in 12 envelope sizes or types from 1,200 m3 (42,380 cu ft) to 6,000 m3 (211,900 cu ft); also special-shape balloons to order. Own polyester fabric for these is produced by sister company, Kubicek Textil. Workforce of 25 in early 2003, in factory area of 1,400 m2 (15,069 sq ft).
Kubicek's first hot-air airship design was the AV-1. A new design, the AV-2, made its maiden flight in 1999. The AV-1 continues to be marketed in Russia by Avgur and RosAeroSystems. Development and marketing of AV-2 continues in Czech Republic.