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LIGHT AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
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History

When the 1989 changes came, supporters of sport and ultralight flying meet on 6. December in Prague , in order to find the way forward and how to get out from the illegality imposed by the official authorities. They decided, that they want to unite all amateur builders and pilots, that they want to give to all their action order. They also agreed, that „in vain waited for support from Aeroklub Svazarm, which too long did not come..." As the head of soon established preparatory committee of rising organization was on meeting in Liberec chosen rogalist Peter Tuček and besides other there were working S. Fiala, engineer Ing. Ludovit Packo and amateur builder Peter Mara. On 17. March 1990 in Brne 200 delegates representating already working clubs, federation and unregistered groups, founded Light Aircraft Association of the Czechoslovakia. The LAA presented itselve like independent association of citizens engaged in design, manufacturing, renewal and operation of planes including ultralights, hangliders and paragliders. As the head of Czech hangliding federation was elected Ing. Vaclav Chvala, Slovak hangliding federation Ivan Pechacek, chairman of federal ultralight federation became Miroslav Stanek and with him worked Jaromir Frana and Peter Mara. As persident of the whole LAA was elected Peter Tucek, vicechairman was Ing. Jozef Hrusovsky. With them worked also other known supporters of amateur flying.The chief engineer was Ing. Oldrich Olsansky, CSC. All of them had great ideas and they did not hesitated to work for them. They tried to implement „Flying for joy", it means flying without unnecessary bureaucratic constraints, flying based on law and individual responsibility. Fundamentals, which are valid also now. In the 1990 we begun from nothing – first pilots and ultralights were coming and getting approvals.

Today the LAA is 2nd largest microlight organisation in Europe

Flying on different light and amateur build planes has in our country long tradition, going down until first decades of the past century. Meaningful activity in this direction was developed in thirtieth age inside Masaryk air league, which build school and high-performance sailplanes and pursued aviation ideas through  aeromodelling in schools.

From post war years the amateur and ultralight flying was expressively promoted abroad, in Czechoslovakia its coming was slower, namely as consequence of official support of flying in aeroclubes and government grants, focused to sports flying and aircraft park on aeroclub airfields. Nevertheless in our country originated at that time several light amateur constructions, for example W-1 Broucek from Ing. Vladislav Verner and SK-1 Trempik from Ing. Jaroslav Kamaryt and Ing. Jan Simunek. Always indeed with aircraft factory “unofficial” support.

Hangliding

In seventieths our sports flying was hit by great „revolution", which was caused by wave of technical news, related to the development of recovery systems for cosmonautics. Wing of Mr. Francis Rogallo established basement for completely new hangliders, sometimes called rogallo according to his creator, and new parachute of rectangular shape, with profile used until then only on wing planes, lead early to advances in classical sport parachuting and to the birth of new gliding parachutes. Significant input came at September 1975, when French instructors from Alps demonstrated in Bohemia „free flying" on rogallo. Everybody, who saw their flight with first generation of hangliders, understood that something unprecedented arrived. While official authorities at least hesitated, what to do with such sport, life quickly won. First enthusiasts, some of them as a matter of fact even before came mentioned French, started in our country to build their own rogallo’s according to differently obtained plans  and they started to learn how to fly them. It was for example Milan Sochurek, Jan Kilian, Josef Nalepa. In Prague, Brno, Teplice and elsewhere started to work groups of hangliders. In Prague the leader was Jan Janecek, Peter Tucek and Josef Straka, in Ceske Budejovice Stepan Machart and Zdenek Kamaryt and it would be possible to continue with other important names.

In 1978 was decided, that the hangliding  will become further speciality of Aeroklub Svazarmu CSSR and from March 1980 the public notice of Federal Ministry of Transport about flying with hangliders was valid.. But at that time our rogallists (hangliders) had the beginners period over and they started to fly on competitions. First big international trial, which the Czechoslovak rogalists atended was Egers cup in Hungary in the 1978. The winner was Ing. Vaclav Chvala and he repeated his victory also next year. On the end of March and beginning of April 1980 the first training of hangliding inspectors of Aeroklub Svazarm was carried, among those fifteen attendants were also later organizateurs of ultralight flying, for example Jaromir Frana, Ing. Vaclav Chvala, Jan Janecek and others.

Hangliding opened the sky by absolutely new way. Many of those, who followed the hangliding, belonged to politically persecuted people - they could not fly on sailplane or motor planes, many of them then preferred free, individual flying instead of necessity collective conception of „clasical" air sports.

Trikes

Early in eightieths some of rogalists decided to motorize their hangliders. At the begining they started with home modernized auxiliary engines, placed in rogallo centre of gravity. From those who begin with motorization, it is neccessary to name at least Jaroslav Czech and Josef Novak. Very soon started to fly rogall wings with underslung trike construction equipped one or by two seats, necessary instruments and pusher engine behind the pilots back. In this first period of ultralight planes, to which the trikes belongs, the name of Trabant engine was very important. Rudolf Nic probably used popular two-stroke engine from former NDR for the first time.

Motorization well take up previous experience in individual flying on hangliders,  did not required factory asistance and it was possible to make it in home workshop.  Privatly built trikes was more and more and what was characteristic for these years their creators fly in absolute majority illegaly. Slowness of authorities come short to follow the dynamic development. Trike pilots from mid-1980s organized their own competitions, among them had remarkable position contest named Melnicka Ludmila, practised from 1987, and started to attend also the first international rallyes.

At that time also the first trikes made legally, professionally flew. In JZD Červenka the group of enthusiast led by L. Kargera developed trikes for use in agriculture. Svazarm company Aquacentrum in Bubovice, where with several further enthusiast were working Ing. T. Jura and P. Mara, was developing trikes for military, economy and sport. Both groups successfuly proved considerable chances of thise caregory of ultralight planes, but against the quantity of illegal trikes was their contribution to rising ultralight flying in then Czechoslovakia relatively dull.

One of the trikes made in JZD Červenka is considerable written in the history – it was flown by  known sport pilot and geologist-naturalist Ing. Frantisek Jenis in expedition, which went around the world in Tatra truck in 1987.  

Ultralights

At various meeting of trike pilots was in second mid-1980s already possible to see aerodynamically controlled ultralight aeroplanes with „clasical" wings. They were build by amateurs and also by professionals. Superiority with no doubt belongs to Jaroslav Podesva and his son Peter from airfield in Hranice na Morave. Small plane named Honzík was built with the support of whole Podesva family flew already on November 1980. With its authentication according to the L8/S rules helped Ing. Jiří Valný from Aerotechnik in Kunovice, who sometime later shared on authentication of trike for Tatra expedition. Unfortunately even with help by other enthusiast from different institution,  ultralight Honzík did not received blessing from Svazarm. Nevertheless, that it had clear success on Ostrava exhibition of young engineers Zenith and on the Kvety Airshow  in Kunovice.

Just something later, quite illegal, but about it more successfuly, flew first ultralight planes of designer Ing. Oldrich Olsansky, CSC. He begun with rogallos, then with various wooden hangliders and with motor types. Biggest reception woke his single-place unique design ultralight aeroplane Straton. Ing. O. Olsansky, CSC. designed his construction in the 1982 and the prototype with Trabant engine also built alone. First flighd made on May 1985 Peter Kodytek, who soon flew with Straton 50-km cross-country flight without the enginet. In the 1987 then got D-4 Straton one of two first prices on Polish amateur plane rally in Wroclaw. Later, in the 1992, followed single-place D-7 Straton mini and two-seat D-8 Straton - Moby Dick. It belongs to the most extendedt UL-planes in Czech Republic.

Number of ultralight planes was increasing. One of them was remarkable ultra-simple replica of aeroplane from begining of aeronautics, French type Demoiselle.  It was built and flown illegaly by Peter Mara in 1987. At that time come up also student projects, from which realizaed was  aeroplane named Kapriz, which designed and with the help of schoolmates  build Jan Namisnak on  air university in Kyjev. Kapriz was the first Czechoslovak construction built from composite materials and was successfuly presented on Moscow amateuri planes rally in 1987. Very well flew also single-place ultralight aeroplane ULM-1 Gryf of young engineers from LET Kunovice M. Meciar, J. Vychopen, J. Dostal and their collaborators.

Partially with official supports then originate in the eightieths also theplanes SP-1 Špunt and ZA-01 developed by group of Prof. Ing. V. Broz, J. Zimak and others, working at Czech Technical University in Prague. On “high places” was already evident, that light planes have future and that they are perspective of sport flying. After agreement of board of management  of the cs. aircraft industry was possible that in the 1987 designers of  Letov Praha led by Ing. J. Kamaryt and Ing. J. Simunek work on project single-place aeroplane LK-2 Sluka, which on July 1988 made its first flight. In contradistinction to previous two types from CVUT it was real ultralight aeroplane. In respect of that connection it is possible only to be sorry, that the management of Aero manufacturing unit did not used initiative of young designers, who in mid-1980s bring in project sports planes, among them was type Z-52 from Moravan Otrokovice, that would today well filled place between ultralight planes and havier Z-142 on aeroclub airfield.

Eighties was marked by coming new ultralight aircraft category and inability of official authorities to take it seriously, puzzled easing of official development of ultralight aeroplanes and stormy, illegal development of their construction and illegal flying.  

Paragliding

Together with development of hangliding and ultralight flying by the end of eightiethts the flying on gliding parachutes extended - and again, in the beginning illegaly. Paragliding is sometimes counted as „adrenalin sport", but at keeping of all rules is  safe sport, providing incommutable experience from the free flight. At the beginning of paragliding there were French paras with rectangular parachute-wings. They didn't want to pay for jumps from planes so they tried flights from steep downslope of mountains. That was sometime twenty years ago. Later, after LAA foundation, our pilots notably contributed to fast enlargement of new sport as well as Czech companies, who develop, sew and export paragliding parachutes.

You will recognize paragliding wings at first sight - compared to parachute they have big wingspan, big aspect ratio and elegant elliptical wing plan form. It is not possible to jump with tehem from the plane, on the other hand they make possible easy flight from mountainside or by the help of winch from the flat airfield. What about their achievements? They make possible flights in distances of tenths kilometers, in hights from dross trees till up cloud base. In the 1999 for example Lubomir Groch flew free flight in distance 180 km. Following year Premysl Sixta flew targeted flight 108 km and Mgr. Ondrej Dupal 54 km long triangular track.

Short time after LAA CR was founded, the paragliding pilots started to compete in Czech Paragliding Cup, which is of analogy to World's Cup, and they have also their own Republic championship. On World's air games 2001 in Spain in broad starting field Miroslav Varvarovsky was placed on good 24. places and the winner, Italian Luca Domini, got the gold medal on Czech paragliding wing Avax RX from Gradient company. The biggest paragliding success of the past year was certainly second place of Petra Krausova in World's cup. She flew on paragliding wing  Magus Czech from MAC company.

PPG

Also paragliding flying reached the motorization, analogous to hangliding - many successful paragliding pilots obtained special backpack with motor propeller or trike and changed common paragliding wing into motor aircraft. In undisturbed weather it is possible to see them at flight above many places in our republic. In past year the LAA CR already registered over 200 pilots and owners of  powered PG. They also organize their competitions and who have excellent results in international scale - this year they even won the Europe Championship.