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Avia S-199

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Type Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Avia
Designed by Messerschmitt
Maiden flight March 1947
Retired 1957
Primary users Czechoslovak Air Force
Israeli Air Force
Produced 1947-1949
Number built ~550
Developed from Messerschmitt Bf 109

The Avia S-199 was a fighter aircraft built after World War II by the Avia Company (Avia Akciová Společnost Pro Průmysl Letecký Škoda), a branch of the enormous Škoda Works in Czechoslovakia, built using parts and plans left over from Luftwaffe aircraft production that had taken place in the country during the war. Despite the aircraft's numerous problems and unpopularity with its pilots, it achieved fame as the first fighter obtained by the Israeli Air Force for use during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Czechoslovak pilots nicknamed it Mezek ("Mule"), while in Israel it was officially known as the Sakeen ("knife" in Hebrew). In practice, the aircraft was more often called Messerschmitt or Messer (which also means "knife", in German and Yiddish).


Design and development

File:Junkers Jumo 211D Engine.jpg
Junkers Jumo 211D Engine

Avia had started building Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs straight after the war under the Avia S-99 name, but soon ran out of the 109's Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine after many were destroyed during a warehouse fire. The S-199 continued to use the Bf 109G airframe but, with none of the original engines available, an alternative engine had to be used. It was decided that as a replacement for the original engine, the aircraft would use the same engine (Junkers Jumo 211) and propeller as the Heinkel He 111 bomber. The resulting combination of parts was an aircraft with extremely poor handling qualities. The substitute engine was heavier than, and lacked the responsiveness of, the Daimler-Benz unit, and the torque created by the massive paddle-bladed propeller made control very difficult. This, in combination with the 109's narrow-track undercarriage, made landings and take-offs extremely hazardous. A final hidden danger lay in the synchronization gear, which did not work as it was meant to, leading a few Israeli aircraft to shoot off their own propellers.[1]

Around 550 S-199s were built, including a number of conversion trainers designated CS-199 (armed) and C-210 (unarmed). The first flight took place in March 1947, and production ended in 1949. The last examples were withdrawn from Czechoslovak service (with their National Security Guard) in 1957.

Operational history

Israeli Service

File:The First Fighter Squadron.gif
The First Fighter Squadron logo

Israeli agents negotiated the purchase of Avia S-199s from the Czechoslovak government in defiance of an arms embargo that Israel faced at the time. Twenty-five aircraft were obtained and all but two were eventually delivered. The first examples arrived on May 20, 1948, six days after Israel's declaration of independence and five days after the commencement of hostilities by Egypt. They were assembled and sent into combat for the first time on May 29, attacking the Egyptian army between Isdud and the current Ad Halom bridge, south of Tel Aviv. This was the first action of 101 Squadron IAF. The type proved unreliable and performed poorly in combat. One Avia pilot remarked "she tried to kill us on every take off and landing." [citation needed] Furthermore, maintenance problems meant no more than five were typically airworthy at any one time. The type, however, scored victories over its opponents, including the Spitfire. [2] The Avias were mostly withheld from service by the end of October, at which time only six remained operational. The S-199 continued making sporadic sorties through mid-December; American pilot Wayne Peake flipped one on its back on December 15.


Avia S-99
Messerschmitt Bf 109G variant assembled postwar in Czechoslovakia. Avia factory designation was C.10, 20 aircraft completed.
Avia CS-99
Training variant of Avia S-99 based on idea of training Messerschmitt Bf 109G-12 variant. Avia factory designation was C.10, 2 aircraft completed.
Avia S-199
Avia S-99 powered by Junkers Jumo 211 engine, main production variant. Avia factory designation was C.210, 551 aircraft completed.
Avia CS-199
Two-seat training variant rebuilt from Avia S-199.




Today at least three aircraft are preserved. Both S-199 and CS-199 are displayed in Aviation Museum Prague-Kbely and sole S-199 example is preserved at the Israeli Air Force Museum at Hatserim Israeli Air Force Base.

Specifications (S-199)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.94 m (29 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.92 m (32 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 2.59 m (8 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 16.2 m² (174 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,650 kg (5,840 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,740 kg (8,245 lb)
  • Powerplant:Junkers Jumo 211F liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 880 kW (1,200 hp)




  1. Lande, D.A. (2000). Messerschmitt 109, Warbird History. MBI Publishing Company, p.116. ISBN 0-7603-0803-9. 
  2. Nordeen, Lon (1990). Fighters Over Israel, The Story of the Israeli Air Force from the War of Independence to the Bekaa Valley. Guild Publishing. 

External links

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

cs:Avia S-199

de:Avia S.199 fr:Avia S-199 he:אוויה S-199 pl:Avia S-199

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Avia S-199".
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