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With Czechoslovakia under German occupation in the Second World War, the Aero company found itself pressed into producing aircraft for German usage. Aero was nationalized shortly after the end of the war.
In 1946, design began on an aircraft that would mark Czechoslovakia’s triumphant return to domestically produced aircraft of a globally respected standard; the Aero Ae-45, it was a design that was remarkable in a variety of ways.
Aero had built a reputation even in the pre-war years of pioneering design and construction methods, the very clean and streamlined Ae-45 design showed that the company had not lost the abilities to develop modern aircraft.
The aircraft also had impressive speed and range for a small two engine civil utility aircraft of the day.
Aero marketed the Ae-45 quite aggressively abroad and found buyers not only in the countries under the Soviet sphere of influence, such as Czechoslovakia found itself in the immediate post-war years, but also western countries; Switzerland and Italy being notable examples.
Production of the baseline Ae-45 started in 1948 at Aero’s factory near Prague and continued there until 1951 when production was moved to the Let company facilities in Kunovice. The improved follow on, the Ae-45S “Super Aero”, was produced from 1954 to 1959.
The ultimate version of this aircraft family, the Ae-145, was developed by Let and built by them from 1959 to 1963. Among the improvements the Ae-145 brought with it were more powerful engines and reduced structural framework around the cabin windows.
The Ae-45/Ae-145 family proved popular with pilots for speed, range, outward visibility and adaptability. The aircraft found use with both civil and military users in diverse roles such as utility, communications, air ambulance, police work and air taxi to name but a few.
While there is not a definitive census of airworthy members of the Ae-45/145 family, there is likely no more than ten or so flying examples worldwide.
As of 2017, Two remain airworthy in the Czech Republic and one each in America, Australia, France, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.
Despite the small number still flying, the aircraft family has a strong fan base and its unique lines grab attention wherever the aircraft goes.
These links will take you to the web sites of a pair of maintained Ae-145 aircraft on the Australian and Czech civil registers respectively. Not only will they give you the fascinating stories of the particular aircraft themselves, they will give you a keen insight into the trials and tribulations of restoring, operating and maintaining a vintage aircraft: