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The New Top Gun Film has Dominated Cinemas with its Aerial Manoeuvers Recorded by Czech L-39 Albatros Aircraft

The story of elite pilot Pete Mitchell alias Maverick has returned to the silver screen after thirty-six years; and has, once again, scored with the audience. The sequel of the iconic 1980s fighter pilot hit is even better than the first film. A month after its premiere, the new Top Gun has earned over a billion dollars and is already the most commercially successful film of the year. More so, the film has a significant Czech imprint.

Among the legends featured in the American blockbuster is a less conspicuous, but a much more real one: the Czech L-39 Albatros aircraft, currently the world‘s most used military training jet aircraft. Thanks to the deployment of this Czech aircraft, equipped with a camera system, the film makers managed to capture the breathtaking air manoeuvers as well as spectacular flying skills of American navy pilots live.

The camera system on the nose of the Albatros has been created by CINEJET, the team combining expertise of the Helinet Aviation company and the oceanic acrobatic group Patriots Jet Team. Thanks to CINEJET, the L-39 earned a superb reputation in Hollywood due to its excellent manoeuvrability at a wide range of speeds (up to 650 km/h), with a camera developed to meet the requirements of the elite flight shots. In terms of performance, flexibility, and recording capabilities, it is the first aircraft of its kind that no air platform can match. The capabilities of the L-39 CINEJET are what brought the dynamics of the aerial shots and aerial combat in Top Gun: Maverick to perfection and exceeded the expectations of filmgoers and critics around the world.

However, the recording capabilities of the L-39 in the new Top Gun are not its only purpose in the film. Before the actors could board the cockpit of American F-14 and F-18 jets, they had to be introduced to the world of real pilots - they underwent part of their training on the L-39 Albatros aircraft. After all, it is the stunts of the rebel pilot portrayed by Tom Cruise that helped the film get the great audience feedback it has been receiving all over the world, beating even the action–packed Mission: Impossible saga.


Although the new Top Gun is the pinnacle of L-39’s "film career", there have been many other examples of its use on the big screen. The Albatros, produced by the largest Czech aircraft company, Aero Vodochody, has had a rich and diverse film experience over the years; and a  95-year tradition of use in both domestic films and foreign blockbusters. The L-39 aircraft played an important role in the filming of the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies. At that time, the filmmakers approached Aero Vodochody with a request to provide the L-39 aircraft and a pilot who was to double up as the James Bond character, played by Pierce Brosnan. The test pilot then spent three weeks in the cockpit of the L-39 in the Pyrenees, where the climax scene of the film was filmed. To some extent, the L-39 has also been used in the fourth part of the legendary action series Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. In 2018, the light fighter Aero L-159 Alca was used in the British drama, King Lear, featuring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thomson.


The successor of the L-39 Albatros is a new generation military training aircraft called the L-39NG: The new generation aircraft is, however, still waiting for its film premiere. The production of the new multi-purpose jet trainer, which is the first Czech aircraft certified according to NATO standards, is running at full speed at the Aero Vodochody factory. The capabilities of the L-39NG will be unveiled to the global aviation community in July at the Farnborough International Airshow.

In film terminology, this is an event comparable to the festival in Cannes, coincidently, where the new Top Gun had its European premiere, crowned by a spectacular air show. Eight fighters of the French Air Force Patrouille acrobatique de France crossed the sky above the festival palace and the city leaving a stylish smoke trail in the sky in the colours of the French flag. The robust promo of the new generation Top Gun can undoubtedly only enrich the presentation of the capabilities of the new generation of Czech aircraft in the world.

From the Riviera, the European Top Gun tour, led by Tom Cruise himself, moved to London. In the UK, the new Top Gun has had a strong positive reaction, with members of the Royal Family attending the London premiere. According to critics, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were impressed by the film. In terms of audience interest, Britain accounts for nearly $78 million of the record film sales.

Czech aerospace companies will follow Tom Cruise and Aero Vodochody to the UK – to take part in the second largest aviation show in the world at Farnborough in July. In addition to the Aero Vodochody stand, the official Czech mission will have five Czech companies exhibiting at a national stand while several other Czech companies organise their own individual stands. The importance of Farnborough International Airshow and Czech participation is also reflected in the composition of the official delegation. The inter-ministerial delegation of the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Industry and Trade, which is sponsoring the national stand, will be led by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr. Daniel Blažkovec, who is looking forward to meeting partners from the world's top aerospace companies.

Anna Uljačenko, Association of the Czech AeroSpace Industry

Michaela Chrtová, economic diplomat, Embassy of the Czech Republic in London