The factory has a new owner. A conglomerate of successful Czech Aviation Industry firms has bought out LETECKÉ ZÁVODY, and thereby ended the period during which the factory was operating under receivership. Blanik America's president visited with the top management of the new firm, AIRCRAFT INDUSTRIES, and received very favorable assurances regarding the continuation of new glider manufacturing as well as parts and service support for the LET gliders already delivered. Read more in the factory news release.

L33 Solo. Larry Watkins was listed in the Silver Badge area of this month's Soaring magazine. Congratulations Larry!

More LAK-17A sailplanes coming. Blanik America congratulates three new LAK-17A buyers who purchased their sailplanes.
USAF receives another L33 Solo. Blanik America delivered in September 2003 another L33 Solo to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The Air Force designated it as TG-10D. It is equipped identically as the L33s previously delivered to the Academy.
LAK-17A finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the 2003 World Gliding Championships, Day 12. Henrik Breidahl of Denmark placed first, Uys Jonker of South Africa second, and Riccardo Brigliadori of Italy third in the 18 Meter Class. They flew 472.6 km (293.7 miles) and finished with the respective speeds of 121.1 km/h (75.3 mph), 118.1 km/h (73.4 mph) and 117.8 km/h (73.2 mph). Other great achievements during the contest by the LAK17A racers were by Vitautas Sabeckis of Lithuania who won on Day 5 and was second on Day 6, by Bostjan Pristavec of Slovenia who placed 4th on Day 7 and by Riccardo Brigliadori of Italy who was 3rd on Day 10. Overall, in the cummulative standings, Riccardo Brigliadori of Italy placed 5th after 12 days of racing in a field of 23 contestants.

LAK gliders success at the 2003 World Women Gliding Championship. Lenka Kuthanová of the Czech Republic flying a LAK-17A placed fourth in the FAI 15 meter class. Yvonne Schwarz of Switzerland placed fifth in the FAI standard class in her LAK-19. The 2nd World Women Gliding Championship was held at Jihlava, Czech Republic, during May 17 through June 1, 2003.

USAF orders additional L33 Solo for the Air Force Academy. The L33 Solo is designated by the Air Force as TG-10D. It will be equipped identically as the previously supplied L33 Solos to the Academy. The equipment consists of a LUN airspeed indicator, UI altimeter, LUN compass, ILEC SB-9 electric audio vario, Dittel FSG-71M VHF radio, ILEC SN-10B flight computer with an additional RAZ analog indicator, VL-01 Volkslogger GPS data logger, a data port, a power management panel with fuses, master switch, switches for batteries, battery state indicator, EDS oxygen system, ELT emergency locator transmitter with remote control unit on the front panel, and, newly added, an audio G-meter RDA-56.

L13AC Blanik wing tip extensions type-certified. The L13AC Blanik, already type-certified in the standard aerobatic category, received the Czech Type Certificate for operations also with wing tip extensions attached. An amendment to the U.S. Type Certificate is expected to follow soon. The quick-mounting wing tip extensions bring the shorter-winged L13AC back to the standard wing span of an L-13 Blanik and/or L23 Super Blanik.

L23 Super Blanik now available with higher payload. L23 Super Blaniks, serial numbers 029005 and subsequent, are capable of carrying forty four more pounds of payload than their predecessors. The change is reflected in Revision 3 to the FAA Type Certificate G60EU.

LAK-17A German type certification. After the Austrian certification of LAK17A a few months ago, now LAK17A is to receive also the German Type Certificate. In the meantime, LAK17A also received the Czech Type Certificate.

Ten LAK sailplanes to compete in the upcoming World Glider Championships.
Poland will host the 28th World Gliding Championship - four classes and 134 pilots, ten pilots with LAK. 3 pilots in standard class with LAK19, four in 15m class with LAK17A and three in 18m class with LAK17A.

LAK-17A received the Austrian type certificate. On November 28, 2002, the Austrian Civil Aviation Administration issued to the glider LAK-17A the certificate of type acceptance, number SF 35/02.

The USAF Academy received all the Blaniks. On November 21, the USAF Academy received the last of the 21 gliders they ordered from Blanik America, exactly thirteen months to date after the supply contract was signed.

The USAF Academy officially switched to Blaniks. On August 30, 2002, the USAF held the unveiling ceremony at the Cadet Parade Field, introducing the new glider fleet to the gathered crowds of cadets, their parents and other official visitors to the Academy. The fleet designation for the new gliders is TG-10B for L23 Super Blaniks, TG-10C for L13AC Blaniks, and TG-10D for L33 Solos. The USAF Academy instructors and cadets have been flying in the new gliders since the Spring of 2002 already, gradually transitioning from the old Schweizers 2-33s, as the new gliders keep arriving (most of them have been delivered already). The Academy now has switched to Blaniks exclusively.

LAK-17A now with higher water ballast carrying capability. On April 22, 2002, the new Type Certificate Data Sheet No. 03/02 was issued by the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Authority for the sailplane LAK-17A. It allows the maximum take off weight of 500kg with water ballast. All manufactured LAK-17A sailplanes are eligible. As a result, the maximum permissible wing loading has increased to 55.2 kg/m2 (11.30 lbs/sqf) in the 15 meter wing span confirguration, and to 51.0 kg/m2 (10.45 lbs/sqf) in the 18 meter wing span. This news will likely be welcomed especially by the racing and records-seeking pilots.

The USAF definitely chose Blaniks to replace its gliders at the USAF Academy. During the course of 2002, the USAF will acquire a replacement fleet of twenty one training gliders. BLANIK AMERICA, INC. delivered the first three gliders already, in the beginning of April 2002. Delivered were L23 Super Blanik, L13AC Blanik, and L33 Solo gliders, TV-1 and TV-2 trailers, and related accessories. Photos from the deliveries.

Welcome new LAK-17A owners! David Ledford from North Carolina and Edward Thunen from California placed their orders recently, and are looking forward to receiving their sailplanes during the course of the year 2002.

The Czech Aviation bi-weekly magazine "AVIATION AND COSMONAUTICS" published a full-page photo essay about the gliders for the USAF Academy on March 29 (in its 2002 Issue No. 7, page 2, inside front cover). Photos of the gliders.

First three new gliders for the USAF Academy shipped from the factory March 11, 2002. Photos of one of them from the factory test flight. Photos.

In October 2001, the USAF has awarded contracts to replace its gliders and motorgliders at the USAF Academy. Over the next several years the USAF will acquire a replacement fleet of twenty one training gliders and fourteen motorgliders. The basic training glider family contract (including L23 Super Blanik, L13AC Blanik, and L33 Solo gliders, TV-1 and TV-2 trailers, and related accessories) was awarded to BLANIK AMERICA, INC. The Dual Motorglider contract was awarded to Ximango U.S., Inc.

Related reports:
USAF AFOTEC Blaniks operational evaluation | USAF Academy evaluates Blaniks |

LETECKÉ ZÁVODY a.s. is the new official name of the merged LET and MORAVAN-AEROPLANES, famed for the Zlin line of sports and general aviation aircraft. The merged company started officially operating on 16 August 2001.

LAK-19 Standard Class sailplane placing first on Day 3 of the 2001 World Juniors Gliding Championships. The 15 -18 meter standard class racer was flown by Luka Znidarsic from Slovenia..

LAK-17A flown to victory at the 2001 World Women's Gliding Championships. Edita Skalskiene, a member of the Lithuanian team, took the first place on Day 5 of the Championships. Many photos from the Championships, including that of the Sportine Aviacija factory, maker of LAK-17A, are on the WWGC website.

Blanik America now Genesis 2 sales representative in North America. Look at the new website section dedicated exclusively to the revolutionary Genesis standard class racing sailplane. Already over twenty Genesis are in the U.S., two in Canada, one in Argentina, one in Sweden, and one in Lithuania. GENESIS SALES.

LAK-19 Standard Class sailplane makes its maiden flight. The 15 -18 meter standard class racer was successfully test flown on 30 July 2001 at the Pociunai airport in Lithuania - site of Sportine Aviacija factory. The same airport hosted also the World Women Gliding Championships 2001 (WWGC) which was in progress at the same time. Many photos of the LAK-19 maiden flight, Sportine Aviacija factory, and of the WWGC are on the WWGC website .

LAK-19 delivery positions are available. See the Order Form.

LET factory purchased by MORAVAN. The renowned Czech factory, MORAVAN is famed for the Zlin line of sports and general aviation aircraft. The sale is to be consummated by mid-August 2001, and will end the interim period of restructuring following the demise of involvement by the bankrupt American company, Ayres Corporation.

U.S. Civil Air Patrol orders two more L23 Super Blaniks. One is for their Alaska, and another for Nevada CAP Wing Squadrons.

USAF to replace its gliders and motorgliders at the USAF Academy. Over the next several years USAF will acquire a replacement fleet of about twenty training gliders, twenty motorgliders and ten advanced racing sailplanes. The bidding is in progress and the model selection announcement is expected in the Fall of 2001.

Factories inspection visit. Blanik America's owner, Vitek Siroky, visited the company's European suppliers in June. He inspected work in progress on gliders ordered and being built at Sportine Aviacija, and LET, called on Aerotechnik and Blanik America's other European suppliers. While at Sportine Aviacija, he made a two-hour flight in one of LAK-17A racing class sailplanes.

Brazilian Air Force takes delivery of six Blaniks. Four L23 Super Blaniks (serial numbers 018805 through 018808) and two L33 Solos (serial numbers 010518 and 010519) were shipped from the LET factory to Brazil in July 2001.

LET factory working on certification of wing tip extensions for L13AC Blanik. The tips are one meter long each and bring the wingspan to 16.2 meters, the standard span common for all two-place Blaniks. The tips incorporate the same wing wheels as on the latest L23 Super Blaniks.

Bare-metal Blaniks. News for pilots who consider buying a Blanik and want maximum available payload capacity: The bare-metal anodized version of L23 Super Blanik or L13AC Blanik is available. By not having the glider painted, the operator preserves 25 pounds of carrying capacity for other uses. To keep the glider attractive-looking, accent-paint ornamentation may be added at a very low weight penalty.

LAK-17A has received type certifications in Lithuania, Portugal, Britain, Slovenia and the Austrian certificate is now pending.

G-Logger. The LET factory installed a G-forces logger in L13AC Blanik s/n 988604 to monitor aerobatics and to consequently assess the glider's rate of usage in terms of service life. The Czech-manufactured G-logger, model AMU-1, costs less than $1000 and is available as an option to L13AC owners through Blanik America.

Blanik America at the 2001 SSA Convention - photos of the exhibits This year's annual Soaring Society of America Convention was held at the cavernous Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis during the second week of February. Blanik America had... (click on the headline for more)

SPORTINË AVIACIJA introduces the new 15 and 18 meter FAI standard class sailplane, the LAK-19 Standard Click on the headline to read about this very competitive and attractively priced new sailplane!

Dick Johnson and Dean Carswell's LAK-17A flight evaluations

Dick Johnson praises the LAK-17A During October and November 2000, Dick Johnson has been evaluating an early model of the LAK-17A, and he shares his enthusiasm about this glider. He writes that, .."(in the 15-meter configuration) above about 65 kts the LAK has about 3 to 5 kts more speed for the same sink rates as an equally wing-loaded Ventus 2B ...That is excellent! ...."

Feedback from LAK-17A users John Gonzalez, Bill Bartell, and Jeff Baird are sharing their impressions... (click on the underlined header line for more).

LAK-T5 trailer for LAK-17A sailplane made its debut...

LAK-17A proves its phenomenal performance at the 2000 U.S. 18-meter National Championships, finishing second overall! For five of the eight days of the U.S. Championships, Bill Bartell in LAK-17A was in number one place cummulatively among thirty three contestants. Ultimately, Bill finished a very close second overall with a mere four points spread (gathering an amazing 99.95 % of the total points in terms of the first place finisher).

USAF AFOTEC Blaniks operational evaluation Around one hundred and fifty flights were made in three Blaniks at Skylark North Gliderport near Edwards Air Force Base, California, in the first half of June 2000. Eleven evaluating and ten other pilots participated in the two-week long operational evaluation.

LAK-17A owners are excited about this glider's performance... (a quote from one of them, Jeff Baird): "Today I flew a 135nm task with a final glide of about 32nm.  With 18m tips, no water save tail ballast, and a blue hole to glide through all the way, I zeroed the McReady setting and was told I needed about 4300 feet to arrive at 800ft.  I thermaled to added about 1000ft because I did not believe, then I arrived at 2000ft.  Some glider.  The computer said I made 49:1 at 49kts with 1kt tail wind."

L13 Blanik team second in Region 4 SSA Contest Mike Robison and Mark Maughmer II flew their Blanik to a Second place Finnish at the Region 4 meet in Fairfield PA. Says Mike, ..."On a few days we really did well thanks to a great handicap and the ability to stay in the smaller cored thermals. We had a lot of fun, and look forward to flying more regionals in the future. We also plan on flying in the sports class Nationals when they return to Mifflin in two years."

Blanik America at the 2000 SSA Convention - photos of the exhibits

LAK-17A receives very favorable flight reviews from world-respected pilots. Click on the article heading for the full text of the reports.

Flight Test LAK-17A by Derek Piggott (Sailplane & Gliding, February – March 2000, Volume 51, No. 1

LAK sees the light way ahead by Jochen Ewald (Sailplane & Gliding, February – March 2000, Volume 51, No 1)

Blanik America becomes the sole U.S. sales representative for Sportinë Aviacija the Lithuanian aircraft manufacturer of the LAK-17A high performance gliders.

New Glider Books Excellent new books are now available, on glider aerobatics, on the history of gliders, and most recently, on the sailplane designing fundamentals. Blanik gliders are included. Reviews.

Blanik Fun Meets. On June 16 - 18, 2000 another Blanik Fun Contest was held at New Castle, Virginia, co-sponsored by the Blue Ridge Soaring Society, LET a.s., and Blanik America, Inc. Nine contestants gathered and flew, however, the weather did not permit declaring cross country tasks. Those who travelled the farthest (one pilot from IL, another from NC) received the first prizes, and the participants had a great time regardless. The remaining prizes and certificates of appreciation were distributed.
Previous contests:|
1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999.

LET factory bulletins...L13/085a calls for testing of the tail-fuselage attachment in the old L13 Blaniks. The L13/082a calls for color marking of the elevator drive in order to prevent accidental inverted installation.

USAF Academy evaluates Blaniks Three top USAF Academy officers from the 94th Flying Training Squadron test flew the LET L23, L33, and L13AC Blaniks at Bryan, TX, and Wenatchee WA during October 13 through 17, 1999. Altogether 26 sorties were flown. The Academy is considering adding to and replacing some of its glider fleet. Over 30,000 glider flights are flown annually at the Academy.


SPORTINË AVIACIJA names Blanik America its exclusive distributor for the U.S.A. SPORTINË AVIACIJA, the Lithuanian aircraft manufacturer of the high performance gliders known under their acronym LAK, has selected Blanik America as their sole U.S.A. sales representative. The appointment is for a period of three years. The two most well-known products of SA are the Open Class LAK-12, holder of several world records, and the latest hot 15 - 18 meter racer LAK-17A. In late August 1999, the LAK-17A glider has been type-certified in the utility airworthiness category according to JAR-22.

LET L-13 AC "Blanik" Glider has received the FAA Type Certificate in the Aerobatic Standard U.S. Airworthiness Category! PRESS RELEASE: We are very pleased to advise you that on August 25, 1999, the LET L-13 AC "Blanik" Glider has received the FAA Type Certificate in the Aerobatic Standard U.S. Airworthiness Category. For those among you who expressed interest in purchasing this excellent all-metal two-place sailplane, very well suited for aerobatic instruction, competition, and commercial school use, we have units available for immediate delivery. Please contact our office for details. We are looking forward to arranging your delivery.

The U.S. Civil Air Patrol purchases L23 Super Blaniks The CAP Chapters in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, Minnesota, Virginia and Maryland have already received their attractive new L23 Super Blanik two-place gliders.

The brand new L13AC Blanik is available The two-place all-metal aerobatic glider L13AC Blanik is now available for basic, advanced, and especially aerobatic training. One L13AC is now at Wenatchee WA available for demo flights.

Slovak Blanik Glider Aerobatic Team plans to tour North America

L33 Solo winner of the U.S. 1998 SSA Region 8 Sport Class Contest! Two L33 Solos placed first and second in a field of thirteen contestants in the Region 8 Sport Class contest held at Ephrata WA from June 28 to July 3. Contestants from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia participated. For results see the SSA website at

Blanik America receives recognition from the Soaring Society of America (photo) Ed Byars, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SSA, awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to Vitek Siroky, president of Blanik America, for outstanding support of the Blanik Meet held in New Castle, VA, in June 1998.

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