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The Zlin Z-XIII, an all-wood, single-seat, low-wing aircraft from Czechoslovakia, emerged in the latter half of the 1930s.

Its development was cut short, resulting in the construction of just one prototype.

The Bata Zlín aircraft factory’s most successful aircraft was the mass-produced Z-XII model.

Following this, the Z-XIII fast courier aircraft was slated for production.

Designer Jaroslav Lonek was once again entrusted with its design.

The aircraft was developed for dual purposes: as a fast travel competitor in races and as a courier aircraft for the swift communication of managers and the transportation of Bata shipments.

There was also interest from the Czech Air Force as a fighter aircraft.

The prototype, bearing the registration OK-TBZ, took flight on August 9, 1937.

In the spring of 1937, an aircraft equipped with a Walter Major 4 engine, delivering an output of 88/96 kW (120/130 hp), and paired with a French adjustable Ratier propeller, was piloted by chief pilot Šváb and subsequently by test pilot Maj. Ján Ambruš.

The fundamental design was a single seater, with the cockpit positioned aft of the aircraft’s centre of gravity, allowing for cargo space at the centre of gravity above the wing.

This configuration could later be altered to a two-seater by simply modifying the fairings.

The aircraft featured an all-wood construction, including the rudders.

Its wings, characterised by a trapezoidal layout and rounded tips, were made of wood with double-longitudinal beams and veneer coverings.

Its fuselage, elliptical and deep, included a raised section to enhance the pilot’s visibility from the cockpit.

The undercarriage, a rigid structure with an aerodynamic fork and wheel fairings, was supported by a coil spring.

At the rear, a sturdy tailskid was attached to the fuselage’s final two bulkheads.

The first bulkhead, featuring a firewall at the front, articulated an engine mount constructed from Mannesmann tubes.

The Walter Major 4 engine was affixed using four rubber suspensions.

Positioned beneath the engine was the oil tank, while the gasoline tanks were housed within the aircraft’s fuselage.

This aircraft necessitated a quality airfield equipped with a sufficiently long runway to accommodate its high landing speed of 140 km/h.

Moreover, due to the significant area load, only highly skilled pilots could operate it.

Following the German occupation, there was a plan for the Zlín Z-XIII aircraft to flee to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, with the pilot slated to be the renowned bomber pilot Alois Šiška.

However, the aircraft was deserted shortly before the scheduled departure due to concerns that the plan was compromised.

Another account suggests that the plan was called off after the hangar foreman was detained by the Gestapo on the day of the operation.

The prototype endured the Second World War concealed in a hangar, camouflaged by Bata’s technicians.

They also painted swastikas on it as a precaution.

After the war, this lone prototype was moved to the National Technical Museum in Prague’s collection.


1 to 2

7.0 m

6.8 m

1.80 m
Bearing area

7 m²
Empty weight

460 kg

635 kg


Walter Major 4 inline air-cooled inverted engine

Two-bladed metal, adjustable in flight of the Ratier type
Maximum speed

300-350 km/h
Cruising speed

280 km/h
Landing speed without flaps

140 km/h
Landing speed with flaps

100 km/h
Climb up to 1km

3 min 15 sec
Service ceiling

6000 m

700 km

Zlins, Typenschau No.3-Detlef Billig.


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