Aerobatics is an attractive discipline both
for pilots and spectators, although not flown
with full-blooded aerobatic special aircraft.
Even a Z 126 Trenér can put on a very nice
show. And when the Z 226, the first version of the Trenér powered by a six-cylinder
engine proved how good it is at aerobatics,
a line of single-seater aerobatic specials
was started alongside the two-seater versions. The Z 226 A changes were minor compared to the two-seater , it had just front
cockpit covered and new shortened canopy
for rear one. Its successors, the Z 226 AS,
Z 326 A or Z 526 A were also just slightly
modified versions of their two-seater counterparts. Then the Z 526 AS “Akrobat Special”
brought in some more significant changes.
For example, the deletion of the flaps. And
when the M 137A aerobatic engine was developed, the Z 526 AF version with a shortened fuselage was introduced, followed by
the Z 526 AFS, which in addition received
a shortened wingspan with twin differentiated ailerons. It was the last of a breed of the
aerobatic specials based on the Z 26 series.
The next step was the brand-new Z 50L.
Among the 45 examples of Z 526 AFSs produced, the aircraft with serial number 1219,
was produced in 1972 and allocated for the
needs of the aerobatic national team. It received the OK-CXB registration and was
painted with a specific golden-brown shade,
which was, to be honest, more brown than
golden. That's why the aircraft came to be
called the “Brownie”. In the late 1970s, the
aircraft was stripped of this not-so-flatte-
ring nickname thanks to the new livery it
received during an overhaul. It then flew in
the red and white livery typical of most Z 526
AFS and continued to serve with the national
team. In the second half of the 1980s, it ran
off its aerobatic flight hours and, although
these aircraft were later given extended
aerobatic life, the new owner decided not to
“torment” his aircraft and kept it registered
as the Normal category aircraft, which means no reversed flying or no turns exceeding
bank of 60°. It's a bit like having a thoroughbred racehorse used to run the most demanding steeplechases and just letting him
to ramble around the meadow. But, in other
hand, older thoroughbreds often need such
a treatment… The aerobatic Z 526 AFS, however, has mostly met a different fate – being harnessed “to the plough”, i.e., converted
to the tow version Z-526AFS-V, which was
also the case with OK-CXB.
In 1993, this aircraft was assigned to the Holešov Aero Club and 15 years later it underwent an overhaul, during which it received
a completely new silver-red livery in which
it still flies today. However, just a year later
it was sold to a private owner and its new
home became the airfield Frýdlant nad
Ostravicí. The aircraft was then often used
as a tug during sailplane races. Three years
ago, the then owner decided to sell it off.
At that time, Stanislav Jirmus and his son
Tomáš Jirmus made an air trip from their
home Tábor Aero Club, as they were invited
to a barbecue party at another Aero Club.
And there Stanislav Jirmus heard that there
Text: Richard Plos
Illustration: Antonis Karydis
was a nice Akrobat for sale in Frýdlant for
a decent price. That was on Saturday.
On Sunday Tomáš was on the phone, on
Monday he went to Frýdlant and on Thursday
the plane was in Tábor. It was just love at
The drawing by Antonis Karydis on the box
of the kit Cat. No. 84185 shows OK-CXB somewhere over the South Bohemian landscape. It shows it in the company of Blaník
sailplane and with a tow rope attached, but
it is true that Tomáš Jirmus rarely makes
a tow with his “darling”. Rather, he enjoys
flying it for pleasure. And something more
about the owner of OK-CXB: Tomáš is the
nephew of two-time world champion Petr
Jirmus, he is a commercial airline pilot, and
he is a senior instructor at AK Tábor. He is
also called “Stanislavovich” in his circle of
friends – after his father, also an active pilot,
who is Deputy Head of Flight Operations at
Tábor Aero Club. Tomáš Jirmus is also actively involved in one very charitable activity,
namely the organization of annual air meetings called the Czechoslovak Aircraft Gathering. Here, within the organizational team
led by Michal Masař, Tomáš carries on the
duty of Flight Director. This year's event took
place at the airport in Rakovník, next year it
will be somewhere else. If you would like to
come and see, for example, the largest civilian group flypast that can be seen in Czech
Republic, keep an eye on their website www.
scsl.cz. There you will find out about the date
and place of the 2023 event at the earliest.
And maybe you will see OK-CXB live there!