BILL EWING COLLECTION
No. 12197. Letov ŠH 1 Czechoslovakian Air Force
Photograph from Musée de l'Air

Letov ŠH 1

11/30/2013. With the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of WW I, in 1919 Alois Šmolik became chief designer of the Military Air Arsenal established by the new Czechoslovak republic, and in 1920 the arsenal's design and manufacturing responsibilities were taken over by Vojensin tovarna na letadfa Letov. Šmolik's first design was a reconnaissance biplane based on a plywood monocoque fuselage and had fabric-covered two-bay wooden wings of unequal span.

The type differed in no significant degree from the reconnaissance and observation aircraft of WW I, but had a niche in history as the first aeroplane of wholly Czechoslovak design. The new type had conventional tailskid landing gear but featured W-type interplane bracing. It was fitted with one trainable and two fixed 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machineguns, and it could carry up to 265 lb (120 kg) of bombs.

The aeroplane was ordered into production during 1920 in two forms as 28 examples of the ŠH 1 with the 230 hp Breitfeld & Daněk Hiero L in-line engine and 64 examples of the ŠM 1 with the 260 hp Maybach Mb.Iva in-line engine. During the course of their operational careers, the two types were redesignated Š I and Š 2 respectively, and a civil development produced in small numbers was the Šm A 1 with enclosed accommodation for two passengers in place of the military model's gunner's position.

Created November 30, 2013