Aero L-29 Delfin

Once the Aero L-29 Delfin was the main military jet trainer in the Soviet block countries, until the newer L-39 of the same company took over that role. Quite an achievement for a small Czechoslovakian manufacturer. Many later ended up as a warbird.

The L-29 - NATO code name 'Maya' - has straight wings going through the middle of the fuselage. In the roots are small air intakes with the shape of half an oval. Here the wings are thicker that towards the tip, because the single wheel main landing gears retract in the wing roots. The single wheel nose gear retracts forward in the nose. Typical is the rear part of the nose gear doors that slides backward when the gear extends. At the end of the fuselage is an oblique exhaust: it is under an angle when viewed from the side. Finally, the L-29 has a low T-tail with small bullet fairing. The dorsal fin transitions into a dorsal spine that runs until the rear of the canopy.

From below you can see a typical feature of the Aero L-29 Delfin, the backward sliding nose gear door. Also note the half oval air intakes in the wing roots.

The L-29 has a low T-tail and a characteristic oblique exhaust under it: the exhaust is cut-off at an angle. The perforated air brakes are visible as well.

Different versions

The different versions of the L-29 can be recognised by:

  • the size the canopy (single or dual seat)
  • the presence of cameras under the cockpit
  • the presence of tip tanks


This is the standard two seat trainer and the most built version of the Delfin. The student and instructor pilot sit behind each other in a tandem cockpit, under a canopy with two bow frames. The front canopy opens to the right, while the rear part slides backward. It has no tip tanks.

By far the most built version is the standard two seat trainer, the L-29.


Aero developed a single seat aerobatic version, called L-29A Akrobat. Apart from the single seat cockpit there are no external differences compared to the standard L-29.

Specifically to train aerobatics Aero made the single seat L-29A Akrobat. You can clearly see that the rear canopy is covered. (photo: Smolik/WikiMedia)


Another version of the Delfin was the L-29R. It was a reconnaissance version with downward facing cameras in place of the rear cockpit. It has a streamline body below the cockpit. Additionaly, you can recognise the L-29R by the tip tanks.

Tip tanks are only found on the L-29R variant. Less visible is the streamline body under the forward fuselage, that houses the cameras. (photo: Alan Wilson/WikiMedia

Confusion possible with

Canadair CL-41 Tutor

l 29

This jet trainer has half oval air intakes in the wing roots and a low T-tail, like the L-29. However, the Tutor has low mounted wings and a side-by-side cockpit. 

Morane-Saulnier MS760 Paris

l 29

The MS760 is similar to the L-29 and CL-41: it has air intakes in the wing roots, but more of a triangular shape, and a low T-tail. Additionally, it is a twin engine jet with exhausts at the side of the fuselage. Finally, the Paris has a four seat cockpit, with a large backward sliding canopy.