Zlín Z-526 AFS Akrobat Special

Zlín Z-526 AFS Akrobat Special (c/n 1301, D-EWBA, formerly SP-ENA), static display at Letiště Točná (Tocna Airport) open day, Prague, May 2024.

The Z-526 AFS is an aerobatic aircraft belonging to family of training aeroplanes developed in the then Czechoslovakia between 1947 and 1974, commonly known as Zlín Trenér. It is an upgraded derivative of Z-326A Akrobat, introduced into the market in 1960.

In 1965, Moravan Otrokovice developed a modernized variant of the two-seat Trenér trainer, designated Z-526 Trenér Master. Next year, one-seat aerobatic version followed, named Z-526A Akrobat. The development was continued over the next few years and resulted in Z-526 AS Akrobat Special, the aerobatic aeroplane of strengthened construction, shorter fuselage (hence the popular nickname kraťas – shorty) and redeveloped canopy. That new aeroplane performed its maiden flight in 1968.

In the 1970s, the aerobatic special was redesigned again. This time, the aeroplane was made on basis of Z-526F, the new basic variant of Trenér. The new aircraft was designated Z-526 AFS Akrobat Special. It was powered by 180 hp Avia M-137 engine and equipped with new, smaller wings and ailerons.

The aircraft featured within our Photo of the Week series was made for the Polish national aerobatic team. Registered as SP-ENA, the Z-526 AFS was for more than ten years used by the national team and later was acquired by aero club in Nowy Targ.

In 2009, the aeroplane was sold to Germany and registered D-EWBA. For several years, the Z-526 AFS was used for aerobatic displays within the Blue Baron team. In 2016, the aircraft returned to the Czech Republic and received its current, white and red-metallic livery. Currently, the aeroplane is being based at Hodkovice airfield.

An interesting fact is that Eduard Model Accessories, the Czech plastic model manufacturer well known all around the world, issued a scale model of the Z-526 AFS. Featured within the ´Weekend Edition´ label, the model shows D-EWBA in blue-white livery of the Blue Baron team, used between 2009 and 2016.

More information about history and development of the Zlín Trenér family can be found in our article issued in October of 2021.

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