MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the first prototype of the A.10, one of the first Czechoslovak State Airlines (OK) aircraft, flew for the first time in 1922. The A.10 was significant, with five examples in service with the airline on the route from Prague to Bratislava from the time of its inception in 1923 until 1928.

Shortly after World War I, the Aero Letňany A.10 biplane airliner was the first commercial aircraft to be designed in Czechoslovakia. It was known as the Ae-10 Limousine. Husnik and Vlasak built it to meet the increasing need for aerial communication to and from the region.

The A.10 Limousine had a maximum takeoff weight of 2,260 kg (4,982 lb). It was powered by a Maybach Mb.IVa 6-cyl water-cooled piston engine, 190 kW (260 hp). It had 2-bladed fixed-pitch wooden propeller.

3-view drawing. Photo: Wiki Commons

The Aero A.10 Design

A cabin with seats for three and two tables, upholstered on the underside, was behind the single nose-mounted engine and could be inverted to provide a further two seats if necessary. A double skinned firewall between the engine and the cabin along with double skinned surfaces for the walls, floor and roof plus Triplex windows gave a somewhat quiet ride.

A rear window gave communication with the Pilot, whose open cockpit was above and behind the cabin. The cockpit also accommodated the navigator immediately behind the Pilot, who had a seat.

The upper wings were in three sections with the small center section mounted on a tubular cabane and the lower wings were attached directly to the fuselage. Balanced ailerons were fitted to the top plane only and the petrol tank was fitted in the centre section.

The fuselage was a deep rectangular section tapering to a vertical knife-edge at the rear, thus rendering a tail fin unnecessary. The tailplane carried two balanced elevators hinged to the stabilizers, and a balanced rudder was fitted to the top of the fuselage.

Image: Wiki Commons

Czechoslovak State Airlines

Czechoslovak State Airlines was founded as ČSA Československé státní aerolinie on October 6, 1923 by the Czechoslovak government. Twenty-three days later, its first transport flight between Prague and Bratislava took place.

Before its first international flight from Prague to Bratislava and on to Zagreb in Yugoslavia in 1930, it only operated domestic services. The airline was terminated after the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1939, with the country broken up into three parts. But it would be revived.

In 1957, OK became the third of the world’s airlines to fly jet services, taking delivery/putting in service the first Tupolev Tu-104A. OK was the only airline other than Aeroflot to operate the Tu-104. When, in 2018, 97.74% of the carrier was bought by the privately-owned Smartwings (QS), OK became a part of the Smartwings Group.

The airline is the fifth oldest still operating airline in the world.

Featured image: Aero A-10. Photo: Wiki Commons. Article source:  “A New Czecho-Slovak Commercial Biplane: The Limousine Ae 10”. Flight. Vol. XIV no. 703. 15 June 1922. pp. 343–344.