´Little Rebel´, Penguin and Magister – open day at Classic Trainers collection

On 4th May 2024, for the first time during the current season, historical aircraft collection of the Classic Trainers association, located in Hangar 3 of the Plzeň-Líně airfield opened its doors for visitors. During the event, the Classic Trainers association showcased ten aeroplanes, including its latest acquirement P-51D Mustang ´Little Rebel´ and some guest aircraft.

The Classic Trainers association is an organization bringing together the owners of vintage aircraft and their pilots. All of the aeroplanes are privately owned and just jointly hangered, marketed and maintained by the association.

The collection is located in Hangar 3 of the former Plzeň-Líně military airfield. Apart from taking care of the historical aeroplanes, the association conducts educational activities, popularises aviation history and honours Czechoslovak pilots who served in the Royal Air Force.

Visitors to the Hangar 3 could also visit a small museum exhibition there. It is focused on the Czechoslovak aviation, air battles of the World War related to Allied air raids on Plzeň, and history of the Plzeň-Líně military airfield. The aircraft belonging to the Classic Trainers collection are frequent participants of the domestic aviation events. They perform flying displays, a variety of flypasts and are also available at the static exhibition during air shows.

In addition, on regular basis the Classic Trainers association holds the open doors events at its seat in Plzeň-Líně. They are a perfect opportunity for aviation enthusiasts and general public to get familiar with the aircraft based there, visit the aforementioned museum exhibition, as well as talk with pilots to learn even more interesting details about the historical aeroplanes.

The Hangar 3 first open day of the 2024 season brought an interesting novelty – the French jet training aircraft Fouga CM.170 Magister (c/n 331, F-AZTO). The aeroplane, built in 1961, was restored to airworthy condition in 2013. On regular basis, the Magister is being based at Valenciennes-Denain airport in France but will be hosted in Plzeň until the end of the current season.

Without any doubts, the CM.170 Magister is an aircraft rarely seen in the Czech Republic. Therefore, its presence at Hangar 3 is greatly welcomed. Especially that it means much more than just the static exhibition. During Den ve vzduchu air show held in Plasy on the last weekend of April, the CM.170 performed its first display. It was the first time the Magister flew a dynamic display at the Czech aviation event.

Nord 1002 Pingouin II (c/n 274, G-ETME), was another interesting aircraft to be seen during the open doors day at Hangar 3. The French-built variant of Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun was one of the guest aircraft mentioned above and was showcased outside the hangar. It is one of the most interesting examples of that liaison aeroplane – apart from being a post-war production, the aircraft underwent a powerplant conversion and currently is powered by Lycoming O-540 engine. More information about the aeroplane can be found in our article from the Photo of the Week series.

One of aircraft exhibited in Hangar 3 that got the most interest from the visitors, was North American P-51D-30-NT Mustang (c/n 124-48248, OO-PSI). The aeroplane, formerly operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, is the latest acquirement of the Classic Trainers collection.

For the first time, the Mustang was disclosed to public almost immediately on its arrival to the Czech Republic. It took place exactly one year ago, during the open doors event organized in May of 2023. The aeroplane has quite an interesting history and you may find all the details in one of our articles from the last year.

The other aircraft available during the open doors day at Hangar 3 were: Pilatus P-2-05, Morane-Saulnier (SOCATA) MS 893A Rallye Commodore, Stearman N2-S5 (Boeing Model 75), Stinson Reliant (AT-19B), Zlín Z-526 Trenér Master, AT6C Harvard Mk-IIa and MiG-21PF.

Additionally, the latest edition of the open doors day at Hangar 3 was enhanced with Cup of Freedom Pilsen 2024, an international parachute accuracy landing competition. The landing point was located close to the Hangar 3 and the competition could be easily observed from the nearby area. Moreover, it was also an opportunity to watch the Antonov An-2 biplane, used for carrying the parachutists into the skies.

The aircraft from the Classic Trainers collection may be also seen during the upcoming Czech air show events:

  • 1st – 2nd June, Aviation Fair / Aviatická Pouť, Pardubice,
  • 15th – 16th June, Dobový letecký den, Mladá Boleslav,
  • 17th – 18th August, Letecký den Cheb, Cheb.

More images from Hangar 3 open day: