A Brief History Of The Czech Let L-610 Turboprop Airliner

In the 1960s, Soviet national flag carrier Aeroflot was looking for a plane to replace its aging Antonov An-2 aircraft. The aircraft eventually selected was designed and built by Czechoslovak aircraft manufacturer Let. The Let L410 proved to be such a hit with the Soviet airline that when it needed a replacement for the Antonov An-24, it once again turned to Let.

Based outside the village of Kunovice near the city of Zlin in the Czech region of Moravia, Let first began manufacturing aircraft in 1936. Before and during World War Two, Let was a part of the Skoda Works and only repaired aircraft.

Let came up with a 40-seat airliner for Aeroflot

Following the war, the now-communist state of Czechoslovakia nationalized the factory and began building Soviet Yakovlev Yak-11 trainers under license. By the 1960s, Let was building its own aircraft and came up with a 40-seat twin-engine turboprop powered by the new Walter M602 engine for Aeroflot.

LET company logo
Photo: LET

Because Let wanted to fit the new engines on the plane, flight testing was delayed. Eventually, a prototype was built, with the maiden flight taking place on December 1988. To perform flight tests and to get the plane’s airworthiness certificate, one aircraft was delivered to the Czechoslovak Air Force.

Let tried to make the L-610 more appealing to western airlines

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Let tried Westernizing the plane to make it more appealing to none former Soviet state airlines. Now called the” Let L-G610G,” the aircraft featured General Electric CT7 engines, Rockwell Collins Pro Line II digital EFIS, weather radar, and autopilot. The new L-610 Prototype flew for the first time on December 18, 1992, just two weeks before Czechoslovakia split to become the Czech and Slovak Republics.

The L-610G prototype flew its maiden flight on December 18, 1992, four years after the L-610M. Now owned by the Ayers Corporation, an American aircraft manufacturer, Let could not find any customers for its new aircraft. This was surprising following the success of the Let L-410, of which 1,200 aircraft had been built.

The L-610G prototype flew its maiden flight on December 18, 1992, four years after the L-610M. Now owned by the Ayers Corporation, an American aircraft manufacturer, Let could not find any customers for its new aircraft. This was surprising following the success of the Let L-410, of which 1,200 aircraft had been built.

After the Ayres Corporation went bust in 2008, Let was acquired by the Russian Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC). In 2019, they signed a contract to supply ten L-610s to Polar Airlines between 2023 and 2025. So far, only eight L-610s have been built, and the Czech military uses all of them.

Earlier this year, following sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, UMMC sold Let to the Czech defense and aerospace equipment manufacturer Omnipol.

Specifications and general characteristics of the Let L-610

  • Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot)
  • Capacity: 40 passengers
  • Length: 71 feet 3 inches
  • Wingspan: 84 feet 0 inches
  • Height: 24 feet 11 inches
  • Wing area: 600 square feet
  • Empty weight: 19,731 lbs
  • Max takeoff weight: 31,967 lbs
  • Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CT7-9D turboprop engines, 1,750 hp each
  • Propellers: Six-bladed constant-speed propellers

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 300 mph
  • Cruise speed: 272 mph
  • Range: 1,500 miles
  • Service ceiling: 33,630 feet
  • Rate of climb: 1,670 feet per minute

Source

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