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IN MY GMax hobby of constructing computer-sim aircraft, I especially like those with airy greenhouses. The De Havilland Dragon Rapide is one; the Westland Lysander another. My latest GMax project, the Aero AE-45, is yet another handsome example of this genre.
Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits on this twin-engine Czech monoplane. Sources include Kenneth Munson’s fine Private Aircraft and my usual Internet sleuthing, with pickledwings.com and flugzeuginfo.net being particularly useful.
Background. The PickledWings website notes, “Aero was founded in 1919 and had built a reputation even in the pre-war years of pioneering design and construction methods.” The company was nationalized shortly after the end of World War II, during which it had produced planes under German occupation.
The website continues, “The machine’s artful lines and impressive performance attracted attention very early on and great interest was shown in it at air exhibitions and competitions it appeared at throughout Europe.”
Production. The Aero was produced between 1948 and 1961 at two different facilities, Aero Vodochody in Prague-East District and later at Let Kunovice in southeastern Moravia.
Details. Wikipedia cites the Aero 45 as powered by twin 140-hp four-cylinder air-cooled Avia M332 piston engines, mounted inverted and capable of propelling the craft to a maximum speed of 175 mph. Its service altitude was 19,400 ft. at a cruising speed of 160 mph and range of 1100 miles.
To put the Aero 45 in perspective (for those of a certain age), radio’s Sky King flew a Cessna 310 of similar vintage, more powerful, slightly smaller, somewhat quicker, and decidedly more conventional looking. Sorry, Sky.
Claims to Fame. Wikipedia notes, “On 10–11 August 1958 Dr. Pier Paolo Brielli flew an Italian Ae-45 3000 kilometers from South America to Dakar across the southern Atlantic (as the first Czechoslovak-built aircraft to do so). In 1981 Jon Svensen flew Ae-45S from Europe to the USA.”
And, as we’ll see in Part 2, in 2022 your author fabricated a GMax version of this handsome craft. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022
Ah, your penchant for aesthetics is showing, Dennis.
Obviously, the sleek lines of the Aero 45 was largely due to their choice of a streamlined molded windshield, as opposed to a flat or simply bent sheet of Plexiglas. It had been discovered that shaping acetate plastic had to be done carefully, especially when thicker to serve as impact protection for things like bird collisions. If not, the pilot got a distorted view, more so when the plastic was at an angle to the vision.
Sailplanes were always eager to have the most streamlined shapes, especially in the forward sections, and many utilized lightweight frameworks allowing multiple flat panels to prevent distortion. I personally flew one of the sailplanes with a streamlined canopy, and was surprised to see three towplanes in front, one of which had a curved wing!
By the end of the 50s, manufacturing techniques, plastic sheet fabrication, and optical technology all merged, and we’re able to have three dimensional curves without distortion.
Thanks for mentioning my Pickled Wings website, it’s much appreciated.
You’re very wecolme. Thank you for your most informative website.
loved Sky King.