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21st of July 1947

On this day in aviation history, another first flight took place this time in Czechoslovakia

It was the Aero Vodochody Aero 45 (Aero Ae-45) that made its first flight.

The twin piston-engined utility aircraft would become the first Czechoslovakia built aircraft to cross the Atlantic in 1958.

The aircraft became a great success and a total of 590 would be produced between 1947 and 1961. Initially, they were built by Aero Vodochody (from 1947 till 1951) and afterwards by Let Kunovice know still known as LET (from 1951 till 1961).

Development of the aircraft began in 1946, and some (small) resemblance to the German WWII utility aircraft, the Siebel Si 204 is obvious. The Siebel Si 204 and also other aircraft like the Messerschmitt Bf 109 were built Siebel Si 204 in Czechoslovakia during the war. The designers obviously used some knowledge obtained during the war in the design of the Ae-45.

A total of two prototypes completed the test program, and the aircraft received its certification in 1948. An interesting fact is that the type identification -45 refers to the 4 or 5 seats in the aircraft!

The teardrop fuselage has a single tailfin and a retractable main landing gear, the tail gear could not be retracted.

Seven variants of the aircraft were proposed and designed over the years, only 3 of them were actually built in Czechoslovakia. another version was the Sungari-1 was a Chinese unlicensed copy of the Aero Ae 45S, produced from 1958.

The versions built in Czechoslovakia were the:

  • Aero 45First production version built in the Aero factory. 200 built between 1948 and 1951.

  • Aero 45S "Super Aero"Improved variant produced by Let in Kunovice factory, among others with better navigational equipment. 228 aircraft were built between 1954 and 1959.

  • Aero 145 (II)Version with engines changed to supercharged Motorlet (Walter) M332, produced later as Avia M 332s. This version was developed and built by Let, 162 aircraft built between 1959 and 1961

Some specifications of the last version the Aero 145

  • Crew: 1

  • Capacity: 3-4 passengers

  • Length: 7.77 m (25 ft 6 in)

  • Wingspan: 12.25 m (40 ft 2 in)

  • Height: 2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)

  • Wing area: 17.1 m2 (184 sq ft)

  • Max takeoff weight: 1,600 kg (3,527 lb) (full fuel)

  • Fuel capacity: 324 l (86 US gal; 71 imp gal)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Avia M 332-III 4-cylinder air-cooled inverted in-line piston engines, 100 kW (140 hp) each

  • Propellers: 2-bladed Type V410, 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) diameter electrically-operated metal 4-position variable-pitch propellers

  • Maximum speed: 282 km/h (175 mph, 152 kn) at 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) AUW

  • Cruise speed: 250 km/h (160 mph, 130 kn) at 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) AUW

  • Range: 1,700 km (1,100 mi, 920 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 5,900 m (19,400 ft)

  • Service ceiling one engine out: 2,200 kg (4,900 lb)

  • Rate of climb: 5 m/s (980 ft/min)

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