Nathan Jones, President
Since it entered service in 1974, the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros has become the most popular jet trainer in the world and it’s easy to see why. Unlike other fleets of aging jet trainers, the L-39 is still a modern, capable aircraft, having proven its robust platform to be readily adapted to new mission objectives. Thanks to its unique combination of high dispatch rate, economy of operation, and performance capabilities, private defense contractors are broadening the L-39’s mission portfolio. This expansion of capability has only been possible with the L-39 experts at Code 1 Aviation.
With maintenance facilities in Rockford, Illinois, Carbondale Illinois, and Gadsden Alabama, Code 1 Aviation is the leader for L-39 maintenance in North America. They specialize in scheduled maintenance, major modifications, component overhauls, flight support, and training for the L-39 family of jets. For customers whose mission has expanded and require new technical capabilities, Code 1’s expertise with custom, unique installations is a natural fit.
The L-39 is now being used to provide services for target simulation, as a test and demonstration platform for new equipment, and to facilitate close air support training, among other missions. To meet these new requirements, Code 1 Aviation's technicians have performed specialized installations of military hardware of all kinds, from underwing stores dispensers and infrared targeting pods to UHF datalink and communications gear and modern HOTAS systems. These capabilities continue to expand as Code 1 works with an ever-growing client list of defense contractors and special users.
Though the L-39 is a low-maintenance aircraft and pilots can self-launch a sortie easily, operators have found having an experienced Code 1 Aviation crew chief on-site for a mission can be invaluable. Their crew chiefs provide technical support for the flight crew and immediate maintenance if required. “If an L-39 has a mechanical issue in the field, it’s often correctible by a single skilled mechanic working on-site,” says Bruce Carlson, Maintenance Supervisor at Code 1. “One of our crew chiefs can be the difference between a completed mission and a scrubbed flight.”
None of this maintenance, repair, and field servicing capability would be possible without strong parts availability. To meet this need, Code 1 built a massive spare parts and equipment inventory in their 40,000 square-foot parts warehouse with a worldwide supply chain. They have everything from fasteners and O-rings, to engines and whole airframe modules. “We maintain a deep inventory of L-39 parts and components to meet our clients’ needs,” says Nathan Jones, Code 1’s President and Founder. “With our shipping partners, we can have most replacement parts almost anywhere in the US overnight.”
Especially helpful to clients employing military-trained pilots, Code 1’s flight training program was built from the ground-up to meet military standards of safety and performance. Code 1’s flight instructor staff has more combined flying and instructor time than any other L-39 training operation. “Our flight instructors are all US Air Force instructors with combat mission experience,” says Buck “Winchester” Wyndham, USAF Gulf War veteran and Code 1’s chief flight instructor. “Our customers’ pilots are often reserve or active-duty pilots for the US military, and we speak their language. This helps us keep the training process efficient and get flight crews mission-ready as soon as possible.” In addition to flight training, Code 1 also provides training to its clients’ maintenance and support staff.
Since their founding in 2012, Code 1 Aviation grew rapidly to become the industry leaders in “everything L-39.” They attribute their rapid growth to their high standards for quality, safety, and workmanship. “In the US Air Force, a ‘Code 1’ jet is free of all faults, essentially perfect,” says Nathan Jones. “We couldn’t think of a better name for our business to describe what we set out to do.”