“The mock-up committee was joined by a fat general, and because of his obesity he felt he couldn’t push the stick to the side. They called me, I couldn’t reduce the deviation span, so in the end I had to bend the control stick a bit higher up, and every single one-fifty-niner [L-159] now has a bent control stick, to give the pilot more space. If it hadn’t been for that obese general, the one-fifty-niner would have the same stick as any other plane.”
“At one point I wanted to leave the company. The thing was that I had come up with a certain system, drawings were made, and all of the documents received a ‘SECRET’ stamp. The whole set was made confidential. Seeing that I didn’t have the relevant [security] screening, when I came to the workshop, I couldn’t even look at my own drawings, and the mechanics made fun of the situation, saying: ‘You’re not screened for secret documents, but you’ve got it all in your head, so take it from there.’ I was annoyed, I went to my boss, and within a week he’d obtained permission for me, and I could look at my own drawings again.”
When an aviation enthusiast becomes a design engineer
Jindřich Leinweber was born on 14 May 1938 in Bystrá. While attending a secondary technical school in Chrudim he learnt to fly gliders and light sport aircraft at the local aero club. He went on to study at the Faculty of Aviation of Brno Military Academy, where he specialised in aircraft design. From 1962 he worked at Aero Vodochody and took part in the development of planes L-39 and L-159. In the 1960s and 70s he worked on the design of the first small civilian hovercraft of Czechoslovak provenance. At about seventy years of age he left to teach at a secondary technical school. He is now retired, but continues to work on occasion.