Sunday, March 04, 2007

The LET L420 The mighty little Czech

When thinking of aircraft in the old Eastern block, the mind normally springs to the words Anotov or Tupolev as the big names in aircraft. Surprisingly one of the most successful makers in terms of overall production was a medium size firm based near Kunovice. The company produced the remarkably successful L410 light airliner, over which 1000 have been built. In the intervening years, LET produced their gliders while quietly improving their basic L410 design. Clearly the western oriented L420 features a number of attractions for the airline operator to consider. And it could be considered a pleasing visual design:

Another good feature which is unusual for this class is a "Stand up" Flight deck, where you can walk aboard head held high, rather then folding up and bowing your way to your seat. At least for most folks. Powered by a pair of 750shp Walter M601E engines, the LET L420 comfortably handles all adverse weather. Indeed the current L410 fleet daily navigates some of the earth's most unforgiving environments, with a very high degree of safety. Like most in this class, it features wide track, low pressure landing gear and is claimed to operate on ground supporting 85pd/inch, which is like rain soaked grass or gravel..Unlike the others, the Avionics are standard first rate western as basic fit, including weather radar and altimeter as well as EPGW and GPS. This speaks to LET's superior experience with rough field operators, it knows it's customers well. For all intents and purposes, the 15 seat, extra freight cabin would be just what Labrador ordered, with Tip tanks.


News From Kunovice!

We have heard from the Marketing Director at LET a Mrs.Pospíšilová . There are some items I may have been remiss in pointing out. The L420 is normally a 19 seat airliner. The configuration I mentioned is that of a replaceable freight module allowing more freight by removing four seats and replacing them with this handy freight rack:

This option allows the plane to rapidly switch between 15,17 or 19 seats as required. Quite handy. I also forgot to mention the option of TCAS II if that is desired. Finally, I failed to address some rather comforting looking seating arrangements:

Some rather nice looking seats at that. My thanks to the folks at LET for the added information. I'm sure our readers will appreciate the added information.


Brian said...

You are doing some good research, food for thought indeed.
I’m not sure the airlines are going to look at these planes given the record and availability of parts of the twin otters. I guess price and ease of operational issues play the leading roll.

Air Labrador ran some shorts a few years back. We took it a couple of time GB to St. John’s, it was before the dash 8 came on line with them.
I found the shorts sc-7 sky van way more comfortable than the twin otter, you walked in, no bending down. Not sure of it’s suitability for coast airstrips.

dannytoro said...

Thanks Brian,

Your correct, not just any airliner can do an approach to a a strip like Nain. And relatively even fewer can carry an economically safe load while doing it. Indeed, the venerable Twotter is a featured star in my list of suitable aircraft. But bear in mind we are seeking new build airframes. The Twin Otter is being put back in production by a small production firm as we speak. But let's not jump the future article's gun so to speak