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Praga E-114M Air Baby

One of the most successful constructions of Czechoslovak aviation

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About the Plane

The Praga E-114 Air Baby, called the "baby", was one of the most widespread and popular sports aircraft in the history of our aviation. It excelled not only in performance and flight characteristics, but also  exceptional  technologies for pre-war construction. The aircraft was all-wood and had an empty weight of only 290 kg! After the war, its production was resumed without major modifications, except for the Praga B power unit, which was no longer produced after the war. Therefore, these engines were replaced by others and were created  more powerful  versions with different letter designations.

Approximately 200 pieces were created in the Praga E-114B, E-114D and E-114M versions.

11 m

7.12 m

2.60 m

580 kg

187 km / h

140 km / h

4,100 m

800 km

Walter Mikron III

65 HP / 48 kW

14 l / h

75 l

  1 pilot + 1 passenger / 2 pilots




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About the aircraft Prague E-114M Air Baby

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Praga E-114 is based on the original project Prague E-46, which was not the final design of the designer Ing. Nobility. With further modifications, the project crystallized until in June 1934 the first drawings of the final version began to be drawn. The new concept assumed all-wood  wing attached to the back of the fuselage, which was also all-wood. The cabin was covered by the possibility of entry from above after opening the cabin cover and part of the leading edge of the wing. This is how the Praga E-114 type was born.

The first prototype OK-PGA was flown with a two-cylinder imported Aeronca E-113A engine with an output of 36 horsepower, but did not seem ideal. Therefore, the second prototype, registered in September 1935 as OK-MQL, was powered by a new Czechoslovak engine Praga B with an output of 40 horsepower. He seemed ideal. Praga also coined the name "Air Baby" for its type to emphasize its related characteristics and purpose with the then popular folk car Praga "Baby". The name took on a lot and the people around aviation reduced it to "baby". 

In 1935, the E-114 received its final form and flew into the world. At that time, they also controlled the Czechoslovak skies and there was no race in which the aircraft did not participate and only in a few races did not win.

The aircraft excelled not only in racing, but thanks to national records in its category, which it managed to gain. In July 1937, "bejbinka" won two records - speed per 1,000 km / 144.15 km / h and per 100 km / 146.7 km / h. Representation abroad was also very successful, often far from our homeland. The aircraft aroused great interest abroad after the Aerosalon in Paris in 1934, then it was demonstrated in Brussels, London, Ostend, Paris. Belgrade and Bern. And it is necessary to mention other first places at the races on the Isle of Man and in Budapest. In 1936, the Germans were looking forward to air successes at the Berlin Olympics, but the successes were celebrated by our pilots with the Prague E-114M. They occupied the first two places on the 2,471 km long route and the aircraft bore the OK-IPN and OK-MOL designations. The reliable Praga B engine and the perfect stability of the aircraft were ideal features for long-haul flights, ie also for attempts to break records, which were not few. For example, in June 1936, Capt. Fuksa from Cheb Airport and landed in Lithuania after a flight of 1,020 km. An international record was set this summer, but it did not last long. In August 1936, two E-114s took off in Prague, with the same registration marks from Berlin, and the target was Moscow. Only one crew managed the flight, the second "baby" fell off due to a defect. The performance of 1,680 km was remarkable, but it was not the last word of the crew or the aircraft. In July 1938, Capt. Polma on OK-MOL for another flight to the other continent - Baghdad. The factory carefully improved the equipment and installed tanks for 264 liters of fuel, which was enough for a flight of 3,200 km long. Unfortunately, the storm over Turkey made it impossible to reach the target and forced the pilot to land in Constantinople. Even so, the flight meant reaching a record distance of 1,560 km in its category, as well as the last record of the "bejbinka".

Thanks to records, customers in France, Iran, Romania and the United Kingdom took it. In England, F. Hills & Sond even purchased a production license at its Manchester plant. The construction of the Praga B engines was commissioned by the small car manufacturer Jowett Mars Ltd. The planes underwent many demonstration flights and it is necessary to mention the stage flight in 1936 from Lympne Airport to Cape Town. He covered the distance of 14,722 km in 14 days, which also broke the record at the time. Although the British company expected greater success in South Africa, it unfortunately did not take place and a similar story was with domestic production in England. The company produced aircraft under the name Hillson Praga only in the number of 30 pieces. Other negotiations on licensed productions were ultimately unsuccessful and the total number of orders at that time stopped at 180. Until March 1939, production units 1 to 34 and 101 to 120 were completed. The last foreign delivery before the war was in 1941 to the so-called "Slovak state". 

The qualities of the aircraft confirm the resumption of production after the war was restored after a major modernization and the interest was again considerable. After the war, Praga B engines were no longer produced and were therefore replaced by more powerful four-cylinder Praga D, which were mass-produced after the war. The change in the installation was negligible in terms of construction, as well as some modifications to the kite, resulting from the effort to improve the machine so that it does not have even the slightest shortcomings that characterize the pre-war version. In addition to the Praga D engine, a somewhat less powerful Walter Mikron in-line engine with an output of 65 hp was also available. The bow was therefore alternatively modified for this variant, and from the autumn of 1946, post-war designs began to appear in quick succession. The first prototype with the Praga D engine and the designation E-114D was flown on September 14, 1946. Nine days later, the first "Bejbinka" launched E-114M with a Mikron III engine. After the war, only two pieces marked B were built and production was concentrated on versions D and M. In the Praga factory, 100 pieces were built during 1947, then the production of aircraft in the cramped conditions of the Karlín plant was stopped and delimited to Letňany's Red Letov, where 26 pieces.

The Praga E-114 had very good export successes and only France took ten pieces. Our piece, which was made in 1947 with the registration mark OK-BGV, also comes from this series. The aircraft flew in France until the 1950s and then flew in Switzerland until this year with the HB-UAF registration, which was the original since the 1950s, when the aircraft came to Switzerland. After the purchase to the Czech Republic in 2021, when the aircraft officially returns home after sixty years (except for visits to air shows in Pardubice 2010 and Letňany 2012 and 2014) and after a short fitness check, it will again bear the original Czech registration mark OK-BGV.

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