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Letov Š-13
Role Single-seat fighter
National origin Czechoslovakia
Manufacturer Letov Kbely
Designer Alois Šmolik
First flight 1924
Number built 1

The Letov Š-13 was a single seat, single engine fighter aircraft designed and built in Czechoslovakia in the early 1920s. A biplane, it had aerodynamically thick wings which were originally cantilever structures, though interplane struts were later added. Only one was produced.

Design and developmentEdit

The Letov Š-13 was designed as a cantilever biplane, its Zhukovsky airfoil wings thick enough in section to allow internal bracing. In other ways it much resembled the 1923 Letov Š-7. The wings, mounted with modest stagger, were straight edged with constant chord and blunt wing tips. The slightly broader chord upper wing was braced to the fuselage with a cabane formed, on each side, by a forward parallel pair of struts from the mid-fuselage and a rear inverted V pair from the upper fuselage. Only the lower planes carried ailerons.[1]

Both the Š-7 and the Š-13 were powered by a Škoda licence-built Hispano-Suiza 8Fb, a 300 hp (224 kW) water-cooled V-8 engine. Letov had experienced cooling problems with it in the Š-7 and so the ring shaped radiator proposed originally for the Š-13 was dropped and replaced from the start with the transversely mounted, circular cross-section ventral radiator successfully tested on the modified Letov Š-7a. The Hispano drove a two blade propeller with a domed spinner. Behind the engine the fuselage had an oval cross-section, with the single open cockpit partially under the wing trailing edge which had a shallow cut-out to enhance his view. The fuselage tapered rearwards to a point behind the tail control surfaces. The cropped, straight tapered horizontal tail was mounted on the fuselage centre line; the fin and rudder, larger than on the Š-7, were also straight edged. The Š-7 had a fixed, single axle conventional undercarriage, with mainwheels on cross braced V-struts, assisted by a tailskid.[1]

The Letov Š-13 first flew in 1924 in cantilever configuration but during the early flight trials concern about wing strength led to its conversion into a single bay biplane by the addition of a pair of interplane struts. These were initially N shaped but later changed to Vs. The trials demonstrated generally good handling characteristics but stability problems brought an end to development.[1]


Data from Green and Swanborough p.333[1]

General characteristics
  • Crew: One
  • Length: 6.97 m (22 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.00 m (26 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 2.86 m (9 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 20.00 m2 (215.3 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: Zhukovsky
  • Empty weight: 790 kg (1,742 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,166 kg (2,571 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 8Fb V8 water-cooled, 220 kW (300 hp)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed


  • Maximum speed: 230 km/h (143 mph; 124 kn)
  • Range: 550 km (342 mi; 297 nmi)
  • Time to altitude: 18.15 min to 5,000 m (16,405 ft)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Green, William; Swanborough, Gordon (1994). The Complete Book of Fighters. Godalming, UK: Salamander Books. p. 333. ISBN 1-85833-777-1. 

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