Air Force

LETOV SMOLIK S.16


Letov S.16


Letov S.16 Images
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Letov S.16 Images
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Letov S.16 Images
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Letov S.16 Images
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Source: Letov, in Czechoslovakia

Acquired: 1927 - 1929

Type: Light bomber

Engine: 450-hp water-cooled 12-cylinder Hispano Suiza.

Dimensions
Length: 10.22 m
Wing Span: 15.3 m
Height:
Max Speed: 230 km/hr

Range: 900 km

Maximum Ceiling: 7,000 m

Known Serial Numbers: 8, 8K, 10, 15K, 17K, 18K, 21, 23, 23K, 24, 25, 27, 28, 42, 47, 48, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57K, 58K, 59K (a total of 21 aircraft)

Notes

  • These aircraft were the first Latvian air force aircraft of metal construction, and some of them continued in service right up to the Soviet occupation. In September, 1939 the Letovs appeared on the rosters of the the 5th Recon Squadron (Riga) and the 7th Recon Squadron (Krustpils).
  • When the aircraft first arrived in Latvia they bore the manufacturer's assigned numbers L1 - L22 (L16 was, mysteriously, skipped). The Latvians renumbered them according to the air force serial number system.
  • The aircraft were accepted, in Czechoslovakia, by Basko and Trejs, and they were sent in two batches - nine of them on Sept.10, 1927 and twelve on Jan.15, 1929. One of the fist to fly the newly purchased aircraft was Sgt. Launics, who subsequently became a specialized instructor on this type of aircraft.
  • When used as a light bomber, the S.16 was capable of carrying 300-600 kg of bombs.
  • 1930 - parachutes come into use in the Latvian Air Force, but pilots flying the Letovs tend not to wear them because the cockpits did not easily accommodate the extra bulk.
  • In 1935, when the Aviation Division tried to standardize the description of aircraft types by assigning codes according to their function, the Letovs were coded as "C1"
  • February 1, 1928 - one of the Letovs (pilot: Arvids Kibers) makes a forced landing near Krustpils.
  • February 25, 1928 - one of the Letovs makes a forced landing near Dzerbene.
  • 1940 - (Soviet occupation) The surviving Letovs (which had been evacuated to Ramava and Bisumuiza) are gathered together and stored at the Provodnik warehouse, where they remained throughout the first Soviet occupation and the German occupation as well.
  • #8
    • August 12, 1931 - fatal crash at Daugavpils (Janis Zeile, Nikolajs Ritenbergs)
  • #10
    • August 26, 1928 - fatal crash near Cesis. Three aviators (Arvids Kiberis, Sergejs Bloms, Julijs Metums) lost.
  • #17K (17)
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928. Assigned to the 6th Squadron where it remained until at least Oct.1938, probably longer.
  • #18K
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928. Assigned to the 6th Squadron.
    • Sept. 1929 - Participated in the goodwill flight to Lithuania and Poland. (Basko and Eglitis)
    • 1936 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • June 15, 1937 - crash
    • 1938 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
  • #19K (19)
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • June, 1930 - on the roster of the 7th (Long-range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • November 26, 1936 - crash
    • 1937, 1938 - appears on the roster of a training unit.
    • June 1, 1940 - appears on the roster of the 2nd Squadron.
  • #21
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • Dec.1936 - appears on the roster of the 4th Squadron.
    • May 10, 1937 - undergoes repairs (5th Squadron)
    • Dec.1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
    • [See Image on Photo page 3]
  • #23
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • 1930 - on the roster of the 7th (Long-range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • 1936, 1937 and 1938 - appears on the roster of the 6th Squadron.
    • [See Image on Photo page 1]
  • #24
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
  • #25
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • April 1930 - on the roster of the 7th (Long-range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • Jan - July 1937 - appears on the roster of a training unit, then returned to the 7th Squadron.
    • Oct.1938 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • [See Images on Photo pages 1 and 2]
  • #27
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • April 1930 - appears on the roster of a training unit.
    • June 1934 - undergoes an overhaul.
    • June 1935 - appears on the roster of a training unit.
    • Dec. 1936 - appears on the roster of the 4th Squadron.
    • May 1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
  • #28
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • Jan.1936 - undergoes an overhaul.
    • June 1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
    • July, August 1937 - appears on the roster of a training unit.
  • #42
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • May 1935 - undergoes an overhaul.
    • April 1930 - on the roster of the 7th (Long-range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • Dec.1936 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
  • #48
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • July 18, 1929 - flown by Nikolajs Bulmanis.
    • 1936, 1937 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • June 1940 - appears on the 2nd Squadron roster.
  • #51
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • March 1936 - appears on the roster of the 6th Squadron.
  • #52
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • December 13, 1929 - fatal crash near Krustpils (Pauls Rucelis, Egons Jirgensons)
    • In June of 1937 Letov #52 reappears, now on the roster of the 6th Squadron. Considering the total destruction in the 1929 crash this must be either a reporting error or the serial number was reassigned.
  • #53
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • 1936, 1937, 1938 - appears on the roster of the 6th (Reconnaissance) Squadron.
  • #54
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • Sept 11, 1937 - repaired
    • Oct. 1938 - appears on the roster of the 5th (Reconnaissance) Squadron.
  • #55K (55)
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • August 30 - Sept. 7, 1930 - Participated in the goodwill flight around Europe (Vilis Munters, Alfreds Linins)
    • June 1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
    • April, 1938 - undergoes an overhaul.
  • #56
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • June 1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron.
    • October 1938 - appears on the roster of the 5th (Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • March 1940 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
  • #57 / #57K
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • Sept. 1929 - Participated in the goodwill flight to Lithuania and Poland. (Kandis and Ritenbergs)
    • April 1930 - appears on the roster of the 7th (Long-Range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • August 30 - Sept. 7, 1930 - Participated in the goodwill flight around Europe (Janis Pagrods, Nikolajs Kaneps)
    • December 1936 - appears on the roster of the 6th Squadron.
    • December 1937 - appears on the roster of the 5th Squadron
    • March 1940 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • [See Image on Photo page 3]
  • #58 / #58K
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • April 1930 - appears on the roster of the 7th (Long-Range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • 1936, 1937, 1938 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • June 1940 - appears on the roster of the 2nd Squadron.
    • [See Image on Photo page 2]
  • #59 / #59K
    • Taken on charge in late 1927 or early 1928.
    • Sept. 1929 - Participated in the goodwill flight to Lithuania and Poland. (Trejs and Jere)
    • April 1930 - appears on the roster of the 7th (Long-Range Reconnaissance) Squadron.
    • August 30 - Sept. 7, 1930 - Participated in the goodwill flight around Europe (Eriks Mellups, J.Indans)
    • June 1937 - appears on the roster of the 7th Squadron.
    • June 1940 - appears on the roster of the 2nd Squadron.
    • [See Image on Photo pages 1 and 2]


Sources

- Andersons, Edgars Latvijas Brunotie Speki un to Prieksvesture
- Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
- Humberstone, R. (ed) Latvian Air Force 1918 - 1940
- Jezek, Alois Polni pilot a sefpilot tovarny LETOV
- Passingham, Malcolm Le Letov S-16 in Avions No.47
- Rajlich, Jiri Vzduch je nase more Czechoslovak Aircraft 1918-1939
- Vrany, Jiri Letov S-328 Vol. 1
- Atpuhta magazine, Issue #442

Profile courtesy of Arvo Vercamer
Additional research materials provided courtesy of M.Bukhman and E.Bruvelis


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