Letov Š-20

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Š-20 and Š-21
Letecké muzeum Kbely (158).jpg
Role Fighter
National origin Czechoslovakia
Manufacturer Letov
First flight 1925
Number built ca 118

The Letov Š-20 was a fighter aircraft produced in Czechoslovakia during the 1920s.

Design and development[edit]

The Letov Š-20 was a conventional, single-bay biplane with unstaggered wings braced by N-struts. In overall appearance, it greatly resembled contemporary SPAD fighters. The fuselage and empennage were of welded steel tube construction and covered in fabric. The wings had a tubular metal spar but were otherwise wooden, and also fabric-skinned.[1]

The Czechoslovakian Air Force bought 105 machines, and 10 examples were produced for Lithuania under the designation Š-20L. These remained in service until 1936 and 1935 respectively.

Operational history[edit]

An Š-20 placed second in the single-engine category of the national President of the Republic air race in 1925, but fared better the following year. In the 1926 race, an Š-20 not only won this category ,but also set a new national airspeed record of 234 km/h (146 mph). This record was short-lived, however, since the prize for the fastest circuit was also won in an Š-20, and this raised the record to 245 km/h (153 mph).[2]

A single prototype of an unarmed advanced trainer version was built as the Š-21, but this did not sell.


  • Š-20 - initial production version
    • Š-20M - revised version with slimmed down rear fuselage (main production version for Czechoslovakia)
    • Š-20L - export version for Lithuania (8 built)
    • Š-20R - version with further revisions to fuselage (1 built)
    • Š-20J - version with Walter-built Bristol Jupiter engine
  • Š-21 - trainer version with Hispano-Suiza 8Aa engine (1 built)

Specifications (Š-20)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 7.44 m (24 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.70 m (31 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 7 m (23 ft 3.25 in)
  • Wing area: 18.4 m2 (198 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 728 kg (1,602 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,048 kg (2,306 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Škoda-built Hispano-Suiza 8Fb, 190 kW (260 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 256 km/h (160 mph)
  • Range: 528 km (330 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 7,200 m (23,600 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6.0 m/s (1,190 ft/min)


See also[edit]

Related lists


  1. ^ Taylor 1989, p. 573.
  2. ^ Taylor 1969, p. 63.
  • Němeček, Václav. Československá letadla. Prague: Naše Vojsko, 1968.
  • Taylor, John W. R. and Jean Alexander. Combat Aircraft of the World. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-71810-564-8.
  • * Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-69186-8.