The Mystery Airplane Contest
May 1, 2017
The Czech Aero company got its start in 1919 manufacturing the Austria- Hungarian designed twin gun Phoenix fighter under license. Later, it produced its own designs for civil transports, fight- ers, and bombers. After World War II, the reformed Aero began production of a family of light transports, beginning with the Aero 45 of 1947.
Designed by Jiri Bouzek, Ondrej Nemec, and Frantisek Vik, the prototype Aero 45 flew on 21 July 1947, the first Czech designed aircraft to be produced after German occupation. Initial produc- tion used 105 hp Walter Minor 4-III four cylinder air-cooled engines. This was followed in 1954 by the improved Aero 45S with better navigation aids. Over 440 Aero 45 and 45S models were manufac- tured, then the 140 hp M.332 powered
Aero 145 entered production.
Total production was around 590
(some sources say 700), with many going to the Soviet airline Aeroflot for use as air taxis and ambulances. Exports also went to East Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, and China. China's Kharbin Engineering Works built a stepped cock- pit copy beginning in 1958, called the Sungari. Of all metal construction, the Aero 45 is capable of 168 mph, with an economical cruise of 112 mph. Its name, "45" comes from its ability to carry 4 to 5 people.
This Aero 45S (serial number 51186) was built by LET at Kunovice in 1955 and registered OK-INB. It's led a nomad- ic life, being registered in Germany (D-EFUT), Switzerland (HB-EKN),
France (F-BKGY), before landing in Great Britain in 1964 as G-ASYY. Exported to the United States in 1978, this 105 hp Walter Minor 4-III powered 45S was idle from 1996 until 2010 when it was rebuilt by William Shepard. Registered N145SA in the experimental category, it is listed on the USCAR as based in River Ridge, Louisiana. This photo was taken at Oshkosh last year.
This month's winner is Graydon Carlson of Inver Grove who is often "on the road".