Historic Czech biplane unveiled
The Letecké Muzeum (Aviation Museum) of the Czech Republic’s Military History Institute at Kbely airfield on the outskirts of Prague has unveiled its latest reconstruction−a historic Bohemia B-5 biplane. Dating from the earliest days of the independent Czechoslovak nation−which gained its sovereignty in late 1918−the two-seat B-5 first flew in April 1919 and is generally regarded as the new Czechoslovakia’s first indigenous aircraft to fly.
It is believed that just one B-5 was completed, powered by a 40hp NAG (Wright) engine. It was involved in a fatal accident during May 1919 and, following a change of ownership, was eventually rebuilt as a glider.
Stored for many years, very little of the original aircraft survived. Part of the B-5’s fuselage structure and other random components were passed to the museum during 1979. Starting in May 2004, staff at
Kbely began the process to build what is essentially a full-size recreation, using some original parts mainly as patterns, with the rest being contemporary handmade components. The ‘new’ B-5 has now been placed on permanent indoor display at
Kbely, with much of its airframe left uncovered to show the structure. The surviving fuselage framework from the original aircraft has been the subject of conservation work and will be kept in its original condition. Report & photo: Malcolm V Lowe
ABOVE: Bohemia B-5 replica, representing the birth of Czechoslovak aviation at Kbely