130 years since the birth of Aero’s factory chief pilot and fighter ace Josef Novák
Vodochody, July 7, 2023 – Pilot Josef Novák (July 8, 1893, Dobrichov – January 3, 1934, Prague) participated in World War I and had three confirmed kills. As Aero’s factory chief pilot, he flew 30 new aircraft and held nine national aviation records.
“Josef Novák was one of the best fighter pilots of his generation, and over the course of 100 years, Aero aircraft have helped train thousands of fighter pilots around the world, and even today, the latest Aero L-39NG training platform is an effective solution for training fourth and fifth generation fighter pilots,” says Radka Černá of Aero.
Czechoslovak fighter ace
Josef Novák began his pilot training in 1915 and received his Austrian pilot’s diploma in 1916. He first worked in a training unit as a flying instructor. He flew as a fighter pilot from the second half of 1917 to July 1918 in the famous 41st Fighter Air Squadron of Commander Godwin Brumowski (1889-1936), who was the most successful pilot in Austria-Hungary with 35 acknowledged kills. Josef Novák, who was awarded the Silver Medal for Bravery 1st Class three times, completed 110 combat flights in this air unit and was “officially” recognized with three confirmed kills. The Czechoslovak pilot sat in the cockpit of a single-seat Albatros D.III fighter aircraft, which reached a top speed of 174 to 202 km/h.
Successful Chief Pilot at Aero
After the end of World War I and before joining the Aero factory, Josef Novák joined the newly formed Czechoslovak Air Force, was appointed Czechoslovak field pilot and served as an instructor at the flight school in Kbely, Prague. As early as 1920 he flew the first Czechoslovak prototype of the Aero Ae-02 fighter aircraft, although it was not eventually produced in series. In March 1923, Josef Novák, who was a very versatile pilot, flew bombers, reconnaissance and transport planes, and speed specials for Aero. In 1926, he even took a seat in the first Czechoslovak seaplane, the Aero A-29.
Speed and altitude records
The Aero Ae-02 with pilot Josef Novák collected aerobatic and speed successes at the 1st International Air Rally in Prague, which was the first air race on our territory. Josef Novák was the best pilot of the Prague event in the aggregate of all the sub-events, for example in the agility sub-events on the 180 km long track he finished second by only 0.12 seconds. Josef Novák also won important first places (with the Aero A-18) in the following years 1923 and 1924, when he won the 1st year (with an average speed of 230 km/h) and the 2nd year (with an average speed of 263 km/h) of the speed race for the prize of the President of the Republic. With the same aeroplane he also set an altitude record of 9,140 metres in 1924. This was not broken until 11 years later. In 1928 and 1929 Josef Novák also participated in foreign races and flights in Aero A-30, Aero A-32 or Aero A-34 aircraft.
AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. focuses on the development, production, maintenance and improvement of civil and military aircraft and is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aircraft manufacturers in the world. In the field of own aircraft, AERO is a permanent partner of a number of military air forces and has a strong position in the market for military trainer and light combat aircraft. With 11,000 aircraft produced in its 100 years of existence, hundreds of L-39 Albatros aircraft still in service with dozens of military operators and a number of demo teams, and especially with its new L-39NG aircraft, AERO has established itself as a leader in the global jet trainer market. In the civil aviation sector, AERO works with major aircraft manufacturers on a wide range of projects and is a partner in several risk-sharing programs, where it is responsible not only for the manufacture and assembly of aircraft assemblies, but also for their development.
Radka Černá, PR & Communications Manager
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