The chief of the Air Force of the Republic of Senegal had a first-hand experience of the Aero L-39NG aircraft as he flew the aircraft.

Senegal is the first customer of the new jet trainer and light attack aircraft. Czech company Aero Vodochody, which is producing the aircraft, is under contract to deliver four L-39NGs to Senegal in Light Attack configuration.

The airforce chief general Joseph Mamadou Diop flew in the L-39NG aircraft along with Aero Vodochody test pilot Vladimír Továrek on 6 October. The flight lasted approximately an hour.

Joseph Mamadou Diop said: “I am glad I had the opportunity to try the aircraft on my own. It was a great experience, Aero test pilot Vladimír showed me the great manoeuvrability of the aircraft and I also admired beautiful Czech landscape from the new full glass cockpit providing great view.”

Aero Vodochody stated that the first L-39NG prototype with the manufacturing number 7001 is currently undergoing flight tests.

The flight represents a key milestone for the L-39NG project, the company said.

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Aero Vodochody president and CEO Dieter John said: “The project runs according to our plan, we are finishing a second aircraft dedicated to flight tests in early November and we will complete the certification for advanced and basic trainer configuration in the third quarter of 2020 and for light attack a year later.

“It was a logical step to offer our customers the opportunity to fly the aircraft and convince them of its unique performance and outstanding capabilities.”

Meanwhile, the L-39NG made the first flight abroad earlier this week when it flew to Sliač Air Base in Slovakia.

The company displayed the aircraft at the fourth L-39 Users’ Group Conference in the country.