Designed in the late 1960s, and making its public debut at the Paris Airshow in 1969, it entered service initially with the Czechoslovakian air force in 1972. The L-39 quickly became the world's most successful and heavily exported jet trainer of all time, with over 4000 examples produced. Although production ceased in 1988 over 900 L-39s remain in service today with some 20 air forces. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s several hundred aircraft were sold as military surplus and are now in private hands all around the world, making regular appearances at air shows of all sizes. L-39Cs are also used by several aerobatic teams, including the famous Breitling Jet Team and Vjazma Rus Aero Club.
From a design and engineering standpoint the L-39C was the first single engine jet trainer to 'get it all right' and its design features were heavily imitated in later jet trainers from other manufacturers, such as the BAE Hawk and Italian MB-339.
Various improvements and redesigns have occured throughout the production life of the Albatros resulting in the ZO, ZA and MS models of the 1980s which featured improved avionics, more hardpoints, and strengthened structures. These improvements ultimately led to the development of the L-159 Alca (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft). With the creation of the Alca the basic L-39 design has grown beyond its trainer roots and has become a formidable attack aircraft in its own right.
This Lotus Simulations rendition recreates the original L-39C. This is the lightest, simplest, and highest performance member of the Albatros family. Among private owners the "C" is regarded as the most desirable model.