A vintage Soviet-era L-29 Delfin fighter jet crashed during an air show display in Villa Canas, Argentina, resulting in the deaths of both pilots.
The tragic incident, which occurred on November 12, 2023, saw the L29 Dolphin fail to perform a loop-the-loop stunt, resulting in a catastrophic crash dangerously close to the audience and just meters away from a crowded road.
“We are all moved by the event and stunned because everyone who was at the event was surprised to see how the plane fell,” Mayor Norberto Gizzi of Villa Canas told local media.
Video footage, which was shared by a spectator, shows the jet performing a low pass over the runway, a maneuver that initially intrigued those who witnessed it. However, as the plane attempted to regain altitude, it failed to complete the maneuver and crashed.
“The flight was very normal but when doing the stunt, there was a lot of wind, he [the pilot] lost speed, the nose went down, he couldn’t control it, it fell and caught fire,” Mayor Gizzi said.
The Czech-made L-29 Delfin, introduced in 1961, was the premier jet trainer for Warsaw Pact air forces outside Russia and valued for its sturdiness and flexibility.
The aircraft’s design is notable for its straight wing and tandem-seating fuselage under a wide canopy, providing excellent visibility. Powered by a centrifugal flow turbojet engine, the L-29 is able to reach speeds up to 820 km/h and an altitude of 11,000 meters.
Its use gradually declined after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, as newer, more advanced trainers became available.
More than 3,600 units of the aircraft type were built. The aircraft is now primarily used in airshows and other civilian activities.