The Aero L-29 Delfin (dolphin), NATO designation Maya, is Czechoslovakia's first locally designed jet aircraft. It made it's maiden flight in 1959.
Production commenced in 1963 and ceased in 1974. This was a very successful design, that became the standard jet trainer for the Eastern Block countries, except Poland. It was also exported to a number of countries. About 3500 of these jet trainers were built. Soviet Air Force alone obtained more than 2 000. This aircraft is now retired from military service, however it is still popular among civil operators.
The L-29 Delfin is powered by a Czech Motorlet M701 turbojet engine. It was a simple, rugged, easy-to-build, operate and fly aircraft. This trainer could operate from unprepared airfields. It also had an impressive safety record for the type. Both instructor and pilot had ejection seats.
The Delfin also served for weapons training role. It was equipped with hardpoints and could carry 200 kg of various weapons, including gun pods, bombs or rockets. In fact Egyptian L-29s were used in combat against Israeli tanks.
The Aero L-29 Delfin was succeeded by the L-39 Albatros, which also appeared to be an extremely successful design.