VINTAGE JETS: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE WARBIRDS PRESENT AT AIRVENTURE 2019
Jet warbirds are gaining in popularity with growing numbers ending up in the hands of civilian owners. AirVenture always assembles a fine selection of vintage jets from all era’s, types, and country of manufacture. Jet warbirds have become popular enough that AirVenture designates a specific day every year to showcase them in the afternoon air show.
The most prolific type to be seen is the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross, the most widely produced jet trainer in the world. The L-39, first flew in 1968 and was introduced into service with the Czechoslovak Air Force in 1972. The Albatross was built as a replacement to the Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin as a principle training aircraft. The L-39 is powered by a single Ivchenko AI-25TL turbofan engine giving the aircraft a top speed of 470 miles per hour and a range of 650 miles. When production ended in 1996 some 2,900 L-39’s were built with many still operated by air forces around the world today. The L-39 has become very popular with civilian owners with close to 200 registered in the United States alone.
Another vintage jet that is very familiar with AirVenture attendees is Douglas A-4B Skyhawk, N49WH flown by Paul Wood of the Warbird Heritage Foundation, based at Waukegan Illinois. This A-4B was built in 1957 and carried United States Navy serial number 142112 and is powered by a single Curtis Wright J-65-W-16A turbojet engine giving the Skyhawk a top speed of 661 miles per hour. This particular A-4B served with a variety of United States Navy and United States Marine Corps squadrons before being retired in 1970. The Warbird Heritage Foundation acquired the aircraft in 2007.
Another very familiar aircraft is N1713P, a 1960 built Lim-5 by PZL Mielec of Poland. This license built Mig-17 is flown by Bill Culberson and IS painted to match Randy Ball’s Lim-5. The Lim-5 is powered by a single Lis-5 centrifugal-flow afterburning turbojet engine, giving the aircraft a top speed of 710 miles per hour and a range of 670 miles. The Lim-5 was first introduced into service back in 1956 with 477 produced by the time production ended in 1960.
Several other vintage jets were present, including several Canadair CT-133 Silver Stars, North American T-2C Buckeyes and the Siai Marchetti S-211.
Vintage jets always bring a different and exciting element to AirVenture, with this year being no different. Vintage jets will continue to share the skies with their prop powered brothers for years to come. Until next time, “Blue Skies to All!”.