Tu-143 Rejs preserved at Vyškov, Czech Republic in 2012.
Drones Before the Age of Drones
If you follow any news story about modern military activities, you will undoubtedly come across some notation about the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), or drones as they are more commonly called. Modern militaries are making increasingly varied use of unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft for reasons of cost effectiveness and pilot safety among others. While today’s generation of remotely piloted aircraft are quite advanced, capable and representative of a technology that has quite come into its own; they are most certainly not the first generation of such machines to be in military use.
Indeed, remotely piloted aircraft have been around since the beginning of powered flight. However, it was not until after the Second World War that drones became something more than disposable aerial targets for gunners to sharpen their skills upon. In the early Cold War years, the drone’s potential as a reconnaissance platform began to be explored by East and West alike and the U.S. military used reconnaissance drones extensively in the Vietnam conflict.
Lavochkin, famed manufacturer of fighter aircraft in World War II, gave the Soviet Union its first UAV in 1953. Designated La-17, it was not widely exported and the Tupolev design Bureau came to the fore in making Soviet drones through the early and mid Cold War.
The Smaller, The Better
Tu-143s mounted on their transport and loading vehicle at Vyškov in 2012
When the short range Tu-143 first flew in 1970, it represented an essentially new design. While it bore a resemblance to the medium range Tu-141 which had gone before it, the new aircraft was notably downsized from its forebear.
While the reduced size translated into reduced range, it also translated into weight and material savings; the weight savings also allowed the Rejs to be reused to a certain degree whereas drones which had gone before it were typically limited to a single use.
From its introduction to service in 1973, the Tu-143 was classified as a short range, ground launched, multi role reconnaissance machine. It was deployed using two large trucks, one for transport and loading and the other as the actual launch vehicle. The aircraft was launched with a rocket motor which could be jettisoned once it had been exhausted and the aircraft’s own jet engine had taken over propulsion duties. Once its mission had been completed, it returned to the ground via parachute.
Beyond a range of standard film cameras, the Reys could be equipped with infrared imagery gear or radiation and chemical sensors. A data link for transferring gathered information to ground bases was also standard on the Tu-143.
The Tu-143 could also be seen as something of an early stealth aircraft. This came partly from its small size and partly that its design specification called for minimal radar reflection from its surfaces. Measures taken to reduce aircraft’s radar and infrared signatures made it a very difficult target to detect for anyone trying to intercept it.
In service, the Rejs proved itself a flexible machine capable of successfully operating in a range of harsh geographic and climactic conditions and areas of heavy military action.
Notable military actions which made use of the machine were overflights of both Israel and Lebanon by Syria in 1982 as well as use by Soviet forces over Afghanistan.
A Small Family
Tu-143 launch vehicle preserved at Vyškov in 2012.
Produced from 1970 to 1989, almost 1000 Tu-143s were made in three principal variations:
This was the baseline, standard reconnaissance variation.
An improved variation which began to appear in 1982.
Improvements included greater range and better flying characteristics as well as a completely modernized sensor system.
An aerial target drone variant introduced in 1985.
The Tu-143 Today
A Tu-143 seen loaded into its launcher at Vyškov in 2012.
The baseline Tu-143 served the militaries of around a dozen countries and it would appear that all of them have retired it from service. My research for this piece showed several examples preserved in museums.
As late as 2011, the M-143 was still known to be in service with both Russia and Ukraine.
The Tu-243 is in service exclusively with Russia at the time of writing.
There isn’t a lot of English language information on the internet about this machine, but this Czech language article is a good read once put through a translator:
A Beaver seen at Čáslav, Czech Republic in 2013
Innovative, Industrious and Iconic
Bush flying has been an integral and inextricable part of Canada’s aviation scene from the very beginning. With vast areas of harsh and unforgiving land inaccessible by any other means than air; it is not the least bit surprising that the world’s second largest country created not only the world’s first purpose designed bushplane, in the form of the Noorduyn Norseman, but also an aircraft that became a worldwide recognized icon of both bush flying and the Canadian aviation industry itself: The DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver.
From its first flight in 1947, the Beaver has flown on every continent including both polar ice caps and served military and civilian operators in more than 60 countries. In 1987, the Beaver was named one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century and was commemorated on a special edition of the Canadian 25 cent coin in 1999.
Like the Noorduyn Norseman which preceded it, the Beaver was designed and built with input from experienced bush pilots who knew precisely what was required for successful flying operations in rough and spartan conditions. The result of such close collaboration between the manufacturer and end users of the finished product resulted in an aircraft which has largely remained without peer in its category for over half a century.
Beaver at Čáslav in 2011.
When DeHavilland’s Canadian operation saw the need for an aircraft specially tailored to the needs of bush flyers, the Second World War was raging and they were required to dedicate their production lines to aircraft intrinsic to the war effort. As such, the actual design work and construction of the Beaver would need to be delayed until after the conflict had ended.
With a list of criteria taken from surveys conducted with bush pilots to build their new design around, DeHavilland set about creating an aircraft with excellent short take off and landing (STOL) performance and sizable reserves of engine power as highest priorities.
The new design incorporated easy conversion between wheel, ski and float landing gear and a spacious interior which could be quickly converted from passenger to cargo configurations. The new aircraft would also include cargo loading doors on both sides of the fuselage so it could be loaded from either side with ease; this feature would be particularly useful in the floatplane configuration as it meant that it would no longer matter which side of a pier the pilot moored the aircraft to for loading purposes.
The Beaver’s innovative full metal construction, a first for single engine bush planes, ensured a level of strength and durability not seen in similar aircraft which went before it.
In 1948, the Beaver found its first customer in the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests; this was little surprise as that provincial department had been an early collaborator with DeHavilland in the aircraft’s design.
After an initial slow start, sales of the aircraft gradually increased until the Korean War; a conflict that sent the United States Army looking for a new utility aircraft. After a brief competition, which the Beaver easily won, the American military placed a large order for a fleet of the aircraft. This event put the Beaver on the world stage and sales rose accordingly as the aircraft’s excellent qualities became more widely known.
When production ended in 1967, over 1600 Beavers had been built.
Global Popularity and Adaptability
Beaver at Čáslav in 2011.
Through the years, the Beaver has enjoyed a constant demand for its services and abilities and has done very well in second hand markets. Spare parts are still being manufactured for the aircraft more than fifty years after its first flight and it remains a profitable machine for many small charter operators who fly into remote areas.
The Beaver has added agriculture, policing, skydiving, air taxi, air ambulance, glider tug and survey work among others to its list of vocations. Very rarely has the Beaver failed to successfully complete a task set for it.
Like any good bush plane, the Beaver has proven very adaptable to modifications and refinements in its design for a variety of purposes. Some of those modifications have been subtle while others so extensive as to include complete rebuilding and re-designation of the aircraft.
Here is a Brief overview of the major variations in the Beaver family:
Beaver I/ Beaver Mk.I / U-6
The baseline Beaver variant powered by war surplus Pratt and Whitney radial piston engines.
Beaver Mk.I was the British Army designation while the U.S. Army initially designated it as the L-20 and later as the U-6.
Turbo Beaver III
A DeHavilland built variation which replaced the piston engine with a turbo prop unit. These were built prior to the production line closing.
A Turbo prop conversion of the aircraft carried out by Kenmore Air of Washington, USA.
DHC-2T Turbo Beaver
Re-manufactured and improved turbo prop powered variant produced by Viking Air of Victoria, Canada
The Beaver Today
Beaver at Čáslav in 2011.
While some Beavers have found their way into museums and the aircraft is in demand by vintage aircraft operators, many examples of the aircraft are still being put to work and earning profit for their business operators. If you know where to look, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a Beaver still earning its keep somewhere out there.
With a high proportion of the production run still flying in original or turbo prop converted form, the Beaver shows no signs of slowing down and it certainly wouldn’t be unreasonable to predict that it might still be flying in notable numbers when its design hits the century mark.
The following link will take you to a decent write up of the Beaver from a New Zealand perspective:
This link will take you to a site with many pictures of Beavers from many eras:
My fellow blogger, Sue, and her very popular weekly word challenge have presented me with an opportunity once again to share a photo that I like very much but might not otherwise find space for on this blog.
This week’s word is “Two”. I’m rising to the challenge with this pair of Cessnas sitting in the sun at Brno’s airport. In the foreground is a Cessna C172 and a C150 a bit further back. Shortly after taking this picture, I went on a wonderful sight seeing flight over the Czech Republic’s beautiful South Moravian region in the C172:
A pair of Cessnas in Brno, Czech Republic
To see more entries for this week’s challenge, follow this link to Sue’s blog:
A Sailplane for the Masses
A baseline L-13 Blaník seen at Frýdlant nad Ostravicí, Czech Republic in 2013.
To travel aloft in a glider and be kept airborne by nothing more than thermal updrafts, no engine or fuel to worry about, is an experience quite different from flying in any sort of powered aircraft and likely as close as humans will ever come to flying as the birds do.
The sense of freedom that comes from gliding has made it a very popular activity worldwide and the Let L-13 Blaník and its variations have been catering to the training needs as well as touring and aerobatic desires of sailplane clubs and pilots in almost every corner of the globe since the late 1950s.
From it’s first flight in 1958, the Blaník had a quick rise to popularity thanks to its durable construction, affordability and ease of handling both on the ground and in the air. It was extensively exported and became the stalwart of gliding clubs in many countries.
In its lifetime, the Blaník has held many records for two seat sailplanes. With over 3000 built, the Blaník still holds the record for the most produced glider in history.
A Breed Apart
An L-13TJ, seen at the Olomouc Air Museum in 2012, shows the Blaník’s clean lines very well
Designed and built by the Let aircraft company of Kunovice, in the south east of the Czech Republic, the Blaník was in several key ways a radical departure from sailplane designs which had gone before it. Chief among those departures was the extensive use of metal in the Blaník’s construction; with the exception of the elevators and rudder, the aircraft structures were entirely of metal.
The Blaník was designed from the outset with training in mind; to this end, it incorporated a semi retractable main landing gear with a strong shock absorption system which would allow the aircraft to withstand gear up landings and such similar beginners’ mistakes with little to no ill effect on the aircraft.
With a high level of durability afforded by its all metal construction, the Blaník proved particularly popular as a training aircraft in gliding clubs for its ability to withstand heavy handling that would do serious damage to more expensive and modern types made of composite materials. Beyond civilian groups, the Blaník also served as a military trainer; it was known as the TG-10 series in U.S. Air Force service.
Variation on a Theme
An L-13AC at Čáslav in 2013.
Naturally, with the popularity that the baseline L-13 enjoyed, Let set about on improving the aircraft. In 1988, the L-23 Super Blaník was introduced; the L-23 incorporated changes to save weight and improve cockpit ergonomics and outward visibility among others. The L-23 served as the basis for the L-33 Solo single seat glider which was introduced in 1992. Like the original L-13, the L-23 and L-33 are of primarily metal construction.
Another variation is the L-13AC, a development intended to increase the Blaník’s flight parameters so it could be used to train pilots to a higher level. The L-13AC, generally speaking, can be described as the cockpit and wings of the L-23 married to the rear fuselage and slightly modified tail of the L-13.
Two L-13s were modified to test a small jet engine as a means of making the Blaník a self launching glider. Designated L-13TJ, the aircraft did fly but production did not occur.
An Aerotechnik L-13SE Vivat seen at Kunovice in 2013
A more radical development, and more meaningful in terms of self launching abilities, is the L-13 Vivat series of aircraft. The Vivat took the wings, rear fuselage and tail of the L-13 Blaník and connected them to a newly designed forward fuselage and cockpit. Most Vivats have a retractable single wheel main landing gear with outrigger wheels at the wingtips, though a small number were also made with a fixed two wheel main landing gear arrangement.
The Vivat keeps the Blaník’s two seat arrangement, but has the seats side by side rather than tandem thus creating a much more roomy cockpit. The Vivat can be fitted with either a Czech made Walter Mikron engine or a German made Limbach one.
Construction of the Vivat was undertaken by Aerotechnik, also based at Kunovice, and over 150 of the type were completed before production ended in the late 1990s.
Clipping the Wings
L-13TJ preserved without jet engine at Olomouc in 2012
Following a fatal crash in 2010 of a Blaník in Austria, baseline versions of the aircraft were grounded in many countries when the cause of the accident was attributed to metal fatigue in the wing spar area.
The grounding was controversial in many quarters for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that it affected all baseline L-13s even those with total flight hours well short of the aircraft’s fatigue life.
Interestingly, while other nations scrambled to find a fix to the fatigue problem, Australia had already come up with a Blaník life extension solution in the 1980s known as the “Llewellyn Modification”; aircraft which received the modification were re-designated L-13 A1 and not affected by the grounding. While this modification did keep L-13s in Australia and New Zealand flying, it was not a valid fix everywhere.
At the time of writing, it appears baseline Blaníks in other places are either still grounded or returning to the air with heavy restrictions placed on aerobatics that can be done with them.
The Blaník Today
An L-23 Super Blaník getting towed aloft over Olomouc in 2013
In spite of the groundings that have affected the baseline variant, popularity and numbers are still very much in the Blaník’s favour and later variants of the type are making sure that the name is still respected.
While some Blaníks have found their way into museums, it is safe to say that members of this aircraft family will be flying for several years to come.
This link will take you to the website of the North American importer and distributor of Blaník aircraft, it does contain some further information on the various members of this aircraft family:
This link will take you to a site with some video footage of the L-13TJ flights:
A Zlín Z-526 prominently displayed in the museum’s main atrium
A Big Part of a Bigger Whole
The Brno Technical Museum, in the Czech Republic’s second largest city, is a large collection of exhibits highlighting the rich scientific and technical history of the Czech lands. Beyond the museum’s main facility in the northern suburbs of Brno, several technical sites throughout the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic come under the museum’s authority.
Czechs have been contributing to aviation almost since the dawn of powered flight so it’s only fitting that the museum should give part of its floor space to the science of flight. Aviation exhibits are scattered around the museum’s main facility; though visitors will no doubt first have their eyes caught by the Zlín acrobatic aircraft suspended in the museum’s atrium, here’s a brief overview of what else on display in the way of aviation.
The Power to Fly
A selection of aircraft engines on display.
The ground floor of the museum is largely focused on engines of various types; as such, it’s quite appropriate to find the museum’s impressive collection of aircraft engines on this level as well.
This exhibit shows a range of aircraft engines that spans the early piston engine era through to modern jet and turboprop engines. Taking in the evolutionary stages of the various engine types is quite fascinating.
Most of the engines are presented in cut away format to show their inner workings. Also on display is a damaged Rolls Royce Merlin engine which was recovered from a post war crash site of a Czechoslovak air force Spitfire fighter.
Outside of the main engine exhibit, on the stairs between the first and second floors, you’ll find a Walter Minor piston engine. This famous domestically designed and produced engine serves as the power source for many members of the Zlín Tréner series of aircraft, exemplified by the Z-526 suspended from the museum’s ceiling.
Military and Models
A display of ejection seats from different eras.
A trip up to the second floor of the museum will bring you up close to a preserved Aero HC-102, a domestically produced helicopter of the 1950s, suspended from the ceiling.
Also on the second floor, you will find a display of ejections seats which have been used in various training and fighter aircraft of the Czech military through the years. The collection includes seats taken from Mikoyan-Gurevich and Sukhoi combat aircraft as well as Czech produced Aero L-29 and L-39 training jets.
Opposite the ejection seats is a glass memorial wall with the names of Czech airmen who served in the Second World War etched on it. It is most certainly worth spending a few moment moments to take in the names, and often very young ages, of the men inscribed on the wall.
also in the same area is a glass display cabinet of plastic models representing a variety of aircraft and eras.
A Trip Outside
Three of the five preserved aircraft displayed outdoors.
Exiting the museum through the back door on the main floor will give you access to a group of five preserved former Czech military jets that you can get quite up close to. The group is comprised of MiG-19 and MiG-21 fighters, Sukhoi Su-22 and Su-25 attack jets and an Aero L-29 training jet.
I do recommend exercising a bit of care if you choose to take a close look under the aircraft. While there is nothing to keep you from exploring the aircraft so closely, there are few if any warning signs in regards to sharp surfaces like landing gear door edges and so forth.
All five aircraft do show greater and lesser degrees of wear for being kept unprotected outdoors year round. I do hope that the museum will, at some point in the future, put some sort of at least semi-permanent shelter over them.
Much More than Aircraft
There is a great deal more to see at the Brno Technical Museum than just the aircraft exhibits. Czech contributions to science and technology through the ages have been diverse and significant and are deserving of appreciation; this museum is a very good place to learn something of those contributions.
The museum is easily accessible by Brno public transportation and should not be missed if you are at all technically inclined and visiting the city.
Please follow this link to my fuller write up of the museum on my other blog and a link to the museum’s web page:
An Annual Two Day Spectacle….Usually
NATO Days is a week long international event focusing on military, police and emergency services work that takes place in Ostrava every September. The last two days of the event are public days in which many displays take place both in the air and on the ground at the city’s airport.
Usually, its a quite varied event with lots to see. However, from an aviation standpoint, this year’s event was rather wanting in both static and flying displays. That, in conjunction with weather which was generally uncooperative and the choice to have performers use the opposite end of the runway than they usually do, reduced photography opportunities greatly.
While I remain optimistic for better next year, here’s a few shots to give you a feel for what was there:
A Slovak MiG-29 thunders down the runway.
A Swedish C-130 Hercules awaiting clearance.
The gigantic Antonov An-124 in the static park.
An unusual guest from Poland: the PZL 10 Bryza.
A Czech Let L-410FG Turbolet.
A Huey Cobra from the Czech civil register.
An Austrian Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter.
An OH-58 Kiowa, also from Austria.
Belgium provided this SIAI SF-260 trainer…
…and these two fancy tailed F-16s.
A regularly scheduled 737 preparing to depart during a pause in the show.
A pair of Eurocopter EC-135s of the local air ambulance service departing.
Aero S-105 at Brno Technical Museum, Brno, Czech Republic in 2013.
An Overshadowed Existence
When the name “MiG” is mentioned, images of the legendary MiG-15 and MiG-21 are likely the first images that enter the mind of anyone familiar with the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau’s line of jet fighters which became almost synonymous with Warsaw Pact air power during the Cold War. The MiG-15 established the Mikoyan-Gurevich reputation for producing formidable jet fighter aircraft and the MiG-21, with nearly 11,500 built and many still in active military service after 50 years, cemented that reputation.
The MiG-19, which bore the NATO code name “Farmer”, had the misfortune of falling between The MiG-17, the offspring of the MiG-15, and the MiG-21. Preceded by the descendant of a legend and followed by the aircraft that defined the term “MiG” for decades, it’s hardly surprising that the MiG-19 sometimes gets overlooked when talking about Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft.
The MiG-19 was not only overshadowed by its better known MiG stablemates; but also by its more numerous Chinese derivative, the Shenyang J-6. Many nations used the Shenyang built version alongside true MiG-19s and continued production of the J-6 long after the last MiG-19 had been built ensured that the Shenyang variation would have a longer life than its progenitor did.
A total of 2,172 aircraft were built to the true MiG-19 specifications between the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, whereas at least 3,000 aircraft of the J-6 family are known to have been built.
Through the Barrier
Aero S-105 in Brno, 2013.
The Mig-19 lineage had the distinction of being not only the first aircraft in the former Soviet Union to break the sound barrier in level flight, but also the first aircraft in the world approved for series production which were capable of doing so.
The aircraft was born of a 1951 requirement of the Soviet military for a heavily armed, supersonic fighter capable of reaching the altitudes required to counter western strategic bombers. It was a very high order at a time when the jet fighter was barely out of its infancy as a technology.
Mikoyan-Gurevich was, for the time period, working in largely uncharted territory in the quest to design an aircraft that was at once supersonic and suitable for mass production. The primary obstacle wasn’t so much in designing the aircraft as it was finding an engine that was adequate to the task of getting the aircraft through the sound barrier in level flight. Mikoyan-Gurevich produced a series of prototypes, some of which were mildly supersonic, before they hit upon the right combination of aircraft and engine.
The designers arrived at a prototype designated SM-9/1 in 1953. The SM-9/1, which featured a number of modifications that included a redesigned tail unit and being refitted with suitable engines in the form a of a pair of Tumansky RD-9B turbojets, took to the air for the first time in January of 1954 and was approved for series production the following month. Factory testing of the new aircraft lasted until September.
Several problems relating to stability and responsiveness of the SM-9/1 in supersonic flight and the potential of a fuel tank located between the engines exploding in mid flight made this initial variant of the MiG-19 less than popular. Further modifications created the SM-9/2, it was this modification of the prototype which led directly to the most numerous member of the aircraft family, the MiG-19S.
While the MiG-19 through its aerobatic performance and speed did eventually win popularity among those who flew it, it was a quite demanding aircraft for both the pilots and maintenance crews.
Typical of fighters of its era, the MiG-19 did not have a dedicated two seat trainer variant, this made pilot transition to the type quite difficult. The aircraft’s very high landing speed and tendency to enter spins led to a number of accidents through the type’s years in service.
Fame and Infamy
MiG-19PM seen at Kunovice, Czech Republic, in 2013.
The MiG-19 was involved in the interception of many western aircraft which ventured too close to Warsaw Pact territory during the Cold War. The first documented encounter between a Warsaw Pact aircraft and America’s secretive Lockheed U-2 spy plane occurred in 1957 when a MiG-19 pilot spotted a U-2 but could not get close enough to shoot at it.
MiG-19s were also involved in the downing of at least two American military aircraft over Europe in the 1960s. In July of 1960, a British based RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over the Barents Sea. In January of 1964, a Soviet MiG-19 shot down an unarmed T-39 training aircraft which had strayed into East German airspace.
The MiG-19, along with the Shenyang J-6, saw a variety of combat action in their careers. With a standard armament consisting of three 30mm cannons, it was a fearsome adversary in both air to air and air to ground combat environments:
During the Vietnam conflict, the North Vietnamese forces had both MiG-19s and J-6s and scored seven confirmed aerial victories over American aircraft with them. In 1969 the U.S. Air Force received a J-6 from Pakistan and evaluated it quite favourably with the exception of very short range and high maintenance requirements of the engines.
Various conflicts throughout the Middle East have also involved the MiG-19 and J-6.
Egypt fielded their MiG-19s against Israeli forces in the Six Day War, War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War.
In the Iran-Iraq War, which raged through most of the 1980s, both sides used the J-6 for ground attack missions.
In Africa, the Uganda-Tanzania War in the late 1970s saw Tanzanian MiG-19s used against Ugandan forces. In the same time frame, the Ogaden War between Somalia and Ethiopia saw Somalian J-6s used against Ethiopian forces.
The J-6 was used by the Pakistani forces during the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971.
Who’s Who in the “Farmer” Family
A MiG-19PM at Kunovice, 2013.
The MiG-19 family is a bit of a challenge to define, this is primarily because Shenyang continued to produce and develop the J-6 well after production of the true MiG-19 had ceased. This means that many of Shenyang’s later J-6 derivatives have no direct corollaries in the MiG-19 lineage.
In the following list of major MiG-19 variants, I’ve limited mention of the J-6 only to those variations of it which have close counterparts in the main MiG-19 family. It should be kept in mind that none of the Shenyang J-6 variants are exact copies of Mig-19 family members; while they can be seen as equivalents, they are not identical.
MiG-19S / Aero S-105 / Shenyang J-6
This was the standard day fighter variant of the family and, by far, the most numerous variant. The Aero S-105 was the Czechoslovak license built version.
All three had a trio of 30mm cannons and optional under wing rocket pods as armament.
MiG-19R / Shenyang JZ-6
Dedicated photo reconnaissance versions of the day fighter variant.
MiG-19PF / Shenyang J-6A
Radar equipped, all weather fighter variant. Two cannons were retained in the wings while the nose cannon was deleted to make room for the radar.
MiG-19PM / Shenyang J-6B
Development of the radar equipped, all weather fighter. All cannons were deleted and the aircraft was rearmed with four air to air missiles.
While the MiG-19PM was a major variant, very few J-6Bs were built.
While having no counterpart in the main MiG-19 line, this Shenyang variation is worthy of note as it is a two seat trainer variant of the aircraft.
The “Farmer” Today
Cutaway Tumansky RD-9B engine at Brno in 2013.
Most sources indicate that both the MiG-19 and J-6 are completely retired from military service. There is some speculation that North Korea still operates the type, though that would be difficult to prove conclusively given that nation’s current icy relations with the rest of the world.
I can find no evidence that there are, or are likely ever to be, any airworthy examples of either MiG-19 or J-6 in civilian hands. Given the type’s demanding reputation from both flying and maintenance perspectives and the fact that most military operators likely flew theirs until the maximum fatigue life had been reached, it’s hardly a surprise that we don’t see any restored ones on the airshow circuits.
As it stands, it would seem that sitting quietly in museums is the only way we will be seeing this particular aircraft.
In contrast to the likes of the MiG-15 and MiG-21, finding online information on the MiG-19 is a bit more challenging. However, there is some to be found.
This link will take you to a quite thorough account of the MiG-19 and S-105 in Czechoslovak service. It was written in Czech but, for the most part, is reasonably comprehensible through online translator functions:
This is a much abbreviated summary of the MiG-19 and S-105: