25. June 2024

With Czechoslovak Aircraft on the other side of the world

With Czechoslovak Aircraft on the other side of the world
Experience a legendary adventure in South America! In the 1950s, under the leadership of the company Foreign Trade Enterprise (FTE) OMNIPOL, a famous trip across Latin America took place, which has had no parallel before or since. During this expedition, the pride of the Czechoslovak aviation industry was presented to the local audience. Even after many decades, it is a unique event that raised awareness of our country and capabilities in faraway places. During it’s six-month duration, there was no shortage of interesting meetings, but also nerve-wracking situations both on the ground and in the air, including dramatic flights over the Cordilleras and a tragic crash in São Paulo that claimed the life of one of the pilots.

The 1950s was a period of great development of the Czechoslovak aviation industry, which saw the creation of several important aircraft types: the L-60 Brigadýr, L-40 Meta Sokol, L-200 Morava air taxi, L-13 Blaník glider, and HC-2 helicopter.


At that time, the export of aviation technology was ensured by the OMNIPOL company, which from 1953 was in charge of all export and import of aircraft, handling all exports and imports of aircraft as well as sporting weapons since 1953. The company participated in many international exhibitions and fairs, showcasing the sophistication of the Czechoslovak industry.


A legendary journey following the example of Zigmund and Hanzelka


OMNIPOL demonstrated it’s aircraft not only in France and Italy but also in South Africa and Latin America. The six-month tour of South America, which lasted from January to June 1959, became one of the most significant events in the company's history. In terms of its reach, this marketing expedition was reminiscent of the legendary journey of Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund, who ten years earlier promoted Czechoslovak Tatra cars in Africa and continent of South America.


The preparations for this spectacular event were extensive, including securing visas, developing an analysis of the local market and detailed route planning. It eventually introduced pilots, mechanics and representatives of OMNIPOL to Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay.



The First Czechoslovaks to Fly Over the Cordilleras


This event went down in history not only by its scope, but also by the fact that the pilots of three airplanes were the first from Czechoslovakia to fly over the high Cordillera mountain range, separating Argentina and Chile.


However, the journey was not without problems – the group had to deal with demonstrations, floods and other complications. Unfortunately, it was also affected by the tragic accident of Josef Krejza, who died during an acrobatic performance in São Paulo. We will bring you the details of this event, including the accident report, in one of the next parts of this series.


We drew information about this trip from today's narration by the leader of the expedition, Luďek Skočdopol - from his memorial chronicle, preserved photographs, newspaper articles and other documents - and from the memories of the deceased pilot Miroslav Křemen, which he published in a book publication entitled Journeys of Aviation Life.


Join us on a journey full of adventure, success and unexpected twists and turns. Experience with us a story that left an indelible mark in the history of Czechoslovak aviation.




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