The history of the current SKYLEADER aircraft goes back to the early 90s, when the first concept of a modern, all-metal four-seat airplane was created. This airplane, Z90 and its lighter variant – TP41, was designed as a substitution for the existing Z40 series from the company Moravan. The study had been worked out in the Institute of Aerospace Engineering (IAE) at the Brno Technical University. At that time the existing economical and organizational conditions in the country did not allow the realization of the Z90 project; nevertheless the concept of a modern all-metal airplane was set up.

When the possibility to build an ultra-light version of the aircraft Z90 or TP41 came along, I seized the opportunity with enthusiasm as a member of the professional team of KAPPA 77, a.s. company. Most of the workers came from the former Aero Holding prominent company – JIHLAVAN, so it was no wonder that the development of the aircraft was very fast and the prototype was ready just one year after the design work had started.

The design criteria for this aircraft were strictly set from the very beginning of the design work. First of all the aircraft had to be equipped with a retractable landing gear, adapted for an operation on unpaved and grassed runways. The excellence of performance, given by the general conception and aerodynamic clearness, as well as low stall speed, which led to the use of Fowler flaps, was a must.From a technological point of view, the airplane was made out of very thin duralumin plates, joint by the use of blind rivets. Integral fuel tanks were built in and many other solutions found implementation in this plane, which rather corresponded to the higher class of GA. After the first flight, it was immediately obvious that the projected parameters will be reached.

KP-2U SOVA was shown at the Jihlava Aerosalon in 1996 for the first time, drew the attention of the general public, and paved the way to a brandly new concept of ultra-light aircraft, with speed range above 200km/h. It is necessary to mention that there has been no need to change radically anything on KP-2U SOVA (RAPID)since the prototype and the aircraft went successfully into serial production and on the market. But this is another story, where economics of production, marketing, operating conditions etc. have an important role. It is obvious that the current models SKYLEADER 200, SKYLEADER 400, SKYLEADER 500 and SKYLEADER 600 with factory production in JIHLAVAN airplanes, s.r.o. Czech Republic have real preconditions for growth and economic success.”

Antonín Píštěk, Prof. Eng. CSc. is currently working as a Deputy director of the Institute of Aerospace Engineering at the Brno Technical University. His areas of interest are aircraft design, stress analyses of aircraft structures, mechanics, finite element methods, experimental stress analysis of aircraft structures, etc. He has worked more than 30 years in the aerospace industry as a head of the team in the stress analysis and design and research departments and a chief designer of the small transport aircrafts L 410 UVP and L 610 at the aircraft works LET, a.s. Kunovice, Czech Republic. He is the author of several aircraft projectsincludingthe complete range of two-seat aircraft manufactured by JIHLAVAN airplanes, s.r.o. (KP-2U “SKYLEADER 200”, JA400 “SKYLEADER 400”, “SKYLEADER 500” and JA600 “SKYLEADER 600 ”), five-seat VUT 100 – COBRA developed together with the team of the company Evektor, s.r.o., UAVs project VUT 001 MARABU in co-operation JIHLAVAN airplanes, s.r.o., PBS Velká Bíteš a.s., Plast Servis. Among successors of MARABU project follow projects as a VUT 061 TURBO (Aviation Institute of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno Technical University and PBS Velká Bíteš a.s.), VUT 051 Ray and VUT 081 KONDOR (Aviation Institute of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno Technical University, RAMET a.s., JIHLAVAN airplanes, s.r.o., Air Jihlava – service, s.r.o.).

Mr. Píštěk is a member and a national representative for the Czech Republic in ICAS (International Council of the Aeronautical Science), member of the operation commission of the Aero-Space and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), member of the Advisory group for Aviation in EU, member of the Parliament Board for Aviation of the Economic Committee of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Since the year 2000 he is the leader of the granted project from the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic for the foundation of the Aerospace Research Centre (ACR).