Last update 10 12.16
(Also Mraz M1C Sokol)

Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Meta Sokol VH-DUC at Wangaratta Vic in March 1986, showing the neat lines and distinctive reversed tricycle landing gear
Photo by Geoff Goodall

           The Czechoslovakian L-40 Meta Sokol was an all-metal development of the successful earlier wooden Mraz M.1 Sokol series.
Meta indicated beyond a previous concept, and Sokol was Czech for falcon.
            This aircraft manufacturing business was founded in 1935 as ing. Benes & ing. Mraz Tovama na Letadia, known as Benes & Mraz (pronounced B'nesh and M'raaz) at the small town of Chocen in the East Bohemia region of prewar Czechoslovakia. Mr. P. Benes was a designer whose links to Czechoslovakian aviation went back to 1919, while Mr. J. Mraz was a business investor.  From 1935 a variety of light aircraft were produced until the German occupation when the  business was taken over under the name Flugzeugfabrik Chotzen to overhaul Luftwaffe aircraft and licence-build the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch.  At the end of the war in 1945, Mr Mraz reclaimed ownership under the name Ing Mraz Tovama na Letadia.  Storch production continued, marketed as K-65 Cap, as well as new design training aircraft and gliders.
           The post-war Government regime nationalised the business and dismissed J.Mraz.  Responsibility for the Chocen aircraft works was shuffled between state-owned concerns AZJS Automobile, LET Aviation, and Avia.  Finally in June 1955 the aircraft manufacturing facilities at Chocen were reformed as a new separate company named Orlican n.p. (n.p. indicated national enterprise), named after the town's Orlican River and nearby mountain range.

            The M.1 Sokol had been clandestinely designed during the German occupation and first flew in 1945. Production commenced in 1946 at Chocen with the model M.1A, replaced in 1947 by the three seater M.1C and later the M.1D.  They were all wood construction with plywood covering and powered by an inverted 105hp Walter Minor engine. A total of 183 M1C models were built.

           Only one M1C Sokol was imported to Australia in 1949 and is detailed at the end of the Meta Sokol listing below.

           The prototype all-metal Meta Sokol first flew in 1950 as a V-tail design but development was shelved while the Government's priorities were for military aircraft.  Because it was the first all metal aircraft attempted, a Cessna 120 had been purchased to study the construction methods.  The project was later recommenced and the prototype re-flown in 1954 with many changes including conventional tailplane and two more development aircraft were built.  The production model L-40 had a 4 seat cabin and was powered by a 140hp Walter M332-SC engine, the same as the twin-engined Aero 145. It was unusual in featuring a retractable "reversed tricyle" undercarriage. 

           A total of 106 Meta Sokols were built by Orlican n.p. at Cochen in production runs between 1957-1959. They were marketed by the Czech Government's Omnipol sales organization. Being a communist regime at the height of the Cold War, westerners attempting to purchase  Czech civil light aircraft faced a formidible barrier with Omnipol, which tended to place prospective customers under house arrest in Prague hotels on arrival. An entertaining account of such experiences can be found in Philip Dulhunty's book Never a Dull Moment 

           Completion of the last L-40 Meta Sokol at Chocen on 30 December 1959 marked the end of Orlican's powered aircraft production. The organisaton was then redirected to concentrate on gliders and building refrigerated semi-trailer trucks. 

           In Western countries, Meta Sokols were variously designated CZL, LET, Orlican or Omnipol L-40s.  The Australian Department of Civil Aviation initially registered them with the manufacturer shown as: "Czechoslavak Aircraft Works - CZL (Omnipol Foreign Trade Corp, Prague".  CASA, the politically-correct successor of DCA, then tied itself in knots changing the manufacturer's name of the few remaining Australian Meta Sokols variously as:
- Czechoslovak Aircraft Works
- Czechoslovak Automobile and Aircraft
- Czech Aero Works
- Arvia (mispelling of the major Czech manufacturer Avia)

           Nine Meta Sokols were imported to Australia, all by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney which had been established in 1959 to market Czech built aircraft.   Dulmison founder Philip Dulhunty recalls:
 “ I was the owner of Dulmison, an electrical power transmission company and was operating a Percival Proctor VH-DUL flying around the country selling insulators and equipment to the various country councils. We were also importing porcelain insulators from Czechoslovakia. At this time there were no American aircraft available on the Australian market because of the lack of American dollars.  All we had were Austers, Tiger Moths and anything available from soft currency countries.
    Dulmison took on the Australian agency from Omnipol and formed a separate company Dulmison Aircraft which included Peter and Philip Brown of Kingsford Smith Flying School, Snow Allen and Bruce Robertson. Lombard Finance operated a floor plan for Dulmison Aircraft. Omnipol aircraft included the L-40 Meta Sokol,  Zlin Trenar, Brygadyr, Aero 145, Morava and the all-metal Blanik Glider.  I personally did a lot of the demonstration flying of the Meta Sokol and flew the first one, VH-DUC from Sydney over to Perth.
    I have a great respect for the Czech aircraft industry and believe the Meta Sokol was years ahead of its time in both design and construction. Unfortunately Omnipol worked to a communist style 5-year plan and having made the projected number of Meta Sokols, they made no more."

          In May 1960 a full page advertisement was placed in Australian Aircraft magazine for Meta Sokols: Price new 5555, Lease Plan,
Hire purchase, trade-ins negotiated. Apply Dulmision Aircraft Pty Ltd, Hangar 274, Bankstown.
  A July 1960 report in Aircraft stated that Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd have imported 3 Meta Sokols to date, in addition to two in transit and 3 about to be shipped from Czechoslovakia

         To promote their range of Czech aircraft, on 21 May 1961 Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd held a Dulmison Aircraft Sales Day at Bankstown Airport. A freshly assembled Meta Sokol VH-DUP flew demonstrations along with Aero 145 VH-DUH, Morava L-200 OK-OHC and Zlin Trener Master OK-OND.  These aircraft were parked together for inspection with advertising signs offering easy financial terms from Lombard Australia Ltd. The following month this group of Czech aircraft visited other airports in southern Australia on a sales tour, giving spirited flying displays and promoted as a "flying circus".

          Unfortunately for Dulmison Aircraft, by the time their Czech aircraft were arriving in Sydney, Australian currency restrictions on the US Dollar had been lifted, allowing US production light aircraft to be easily purchased.  Interest in "foreign" aircraft dropped, with doubts about spares and support. Dulmison Aircraft then took on agencies for Mooney Aircraft, Brantly helicopters, Jeppersen, King Radio. But the company was wound up due to the Recession of 1962.

         Meta Sokol construction numbers (manufacturer's serial number) used three pairs of numbers with a space between each pair:
for example 15 05 07 which became VH-DUX:
15 : code for the L-40 series
05 : production series/ batch number
07 : sequence number within the series or batch

Compiler's note:
This edition contains significant corrections to information shown in previous editions of my Sokol and Meta Sokol listing. 
The majority are based on the authoratative research of Canadian aeronautical engineer Peter V. Hartman of XdH Aviation Services in Toronto. Peter has held a long interest in the Meta Sokol and recently visited Australia to inspect several here with a view to possible purchase. He has shared the results of his lengthy project to clarify widespread misinformation concerning Czech light aircraft manufacturing during the Communist era, when secrecy prevailed over all aspects of aviation.

My previous summaries of Meta Sokol production on this site were based on flawed contemporary information in otherwise reputable published sources. Sincere thanks to Peter Hartman for his willing help to correct the record.
   *                     *                           *                           *                          *                     

Australian Meta Sokols listed in order of date of registration:
Because of hire-purchase and other financial arrangements, several Meta Sokols were not registered to their actual owners for some years after delivered. Examples were VH-RCW (R.C.Wagner) and VH-ENG (E.N. Graham) in the listing below.

                           c/n 15 05 07                                                                                                         VH-DUX
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia  as the 36th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
Assembled at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Red, white and grey paint scheme
Registered VH-DUX Kingsford Smith Flying Service Pty Ltd, Bankstown NSW
Demonstrator for Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney
Flew display at Bankstown air show: pilot R. Baker of Kingsford Smith Flying School.
visited Wentworth NSW air show
Change of ownership: R. J. E. Beresford, "Farnham Plains" Station, Eulo Qld
noted at Cunnamulla Qld, in hangar dismantled following a forced landing: reported that the owner is considering rebuilding it with a Lycoming 0-360.
Struck-off Register. Note in Register documents states the aircraft is unserviceable and will be returned to Register after overhaul
Restored to Register: Roger A. Pearman, Melbourne Vic
visited Berwick Vic airshow
visited Morwell Vic fly-in, red, white and grey
visited Point Cook Vic airshow
Change of ownership: J. M. Lillie trading as James Lillie Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Change of owner name: Fox & Lillie Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
noted at Mooroduc Vic, red, white and grey
noted at Lovelybanks Vic
Crashed on takeoff Tooradin Vic.
The pilot bounced the aircraft to become airborne due to poor performance but after becoming airborne struck a tree and crashed inverted into a swamp off the end of the runway. Investigation found that the propeller pitch selector was faulty and that the aircraft became airborne in a stalled condition.  Pilot Captain Jack Ellis and 3 passengers received minor injuries
Struck-off Register

Airframe components were later used in a rebuild of VH-ENG

                          The first  of the Australian Meta Sokols, VH-DUX at Bankstown in May 1960.           Photo by Dave Eyre

                          VH-DUX arrives at a fly-in at Morwell Vic in April 1972.                                    Photo by Roger McDonald

                          c/n 15 05 06                                                                                                                     VH-DUC
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 35th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
Arrived by road crated at Bankstown Airport, Sydney NSW from docks. 
Assembled at Bankstown, white, blue and grey paint scheme. VH-DUC was already painted on the aircraft when uncrated
Registered VH-DUC Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW
Change of ownership: Diesel Motors Pty Ltd, Perth WA
Arrived Perth Airport on delivery from Sydney, pilot Phil Dulhunty

Diesel Motors purchased Aero 145 VH-DUB from Dulmison at the same time and advertised as “WA’s first modern twin engined air charter service”. The Aero 145 was flown by retired Ansett-ANA Captain Keith M. Nicholls, commencing charter work in June 1961, aircraft housed in the DCA hangar at Perth Airport
VH-DUC was based at Parafield Airport, Adelaide, parked in Aviation Services (SA) Ltd hangar. For use of its Perth owner when in Adelaide on business. Appeared to fly only occasionally. Blue and white factory scheme.
noted at Parafield, in Aviation Services hangar. Also 6.62, 10.8.63, 6.2.64, 6.5.64, 28.6.64
Change of ownership: The Sokol Group, Derrinallum Vic
Damage on landing Penshurst Vic.
DCA accident report: When braking was applied following a normal touchdown the landing gear retracted. The pilot did not ensure that the landing gear was locked down prior to landing. Pilot (PPL TT 113, on type 9) and 4 passengers unhurt
noted at Ararat Vic in hangar under repair
noted at Ararat Vic in hangar. Also 5.2.67
noted at Ararat Vic in hangar, dismantled. Also 31.10.67
Change of ownership: Cameron Dawson Motors, Geelong Vic
noted at Benalla Vic
noted at Parafield SA. Also 21.6.69
Minor damage when taxying for takeoff at Horsham, Vic. Port wing tip struck a post,
pilot A. Tabart, owner Cameron Dawson Motors and Tony Tabard.
(Tony Tabart was a glider pilot based at Kurweeton near Campberdown Vic, the Meta Sokol was probably in use as a glider tug)
noted at Ararat Vic
noted Moorabbin Vic, original blue, white and grey scheme, “150506” still on tail fin
Change of ownership: P. A. Caldwell, Geelong Vic
visited Mangalore Vic airshow. now repainted green and white
Change of ownership: Stuart E. Krichauff, Bullengarook Vic
visited St Arnaud Vic fly-in, pilot Stuart Krichauff
visited Mangalore Vic airshow, green and white
visited Wangaratta Vic airshow, pilot Stuart Krichauff
visited Mangalore Vic airshow, green and white
visited St Arnaud Vic fly-in
visited RAAF Richmond airshow, green and white
noted at Riddles Creek airfield Vic
visited RAAF Richmond airshow
visited Avalon Vic airshow, green and white
visited fly-in Cowra NSW, green and white. Also 25.4.97, 3.4.99
based at Tyabb Vic
visited Swan Hill Vic fly-in
visited Kynton Vic flyin, green & white scheme


                           Parafield SA, April 1962, blue and white                                                              Photo by Geoff Goodall

Parafield February 1964.                                                  Photo by John M. Smith, via SA Aviation Museum

                          Moorabbin Vic, March 1976                                                                                   Photo by Mike Madden

                           VH-DUC visiting a fly-in at St Arnaud Vic in November 1987.                             Photo by Nigel K. Daw

                          Kynton Vic, April 2006                                                                                                Photo by Phil Vabre

                             c/n 15 06 14                                                                                                                   VH-ENG
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 58th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
Three Meta Sokols arrived in crates at Bankstown Airport, Sydney: VH- ENG, VH-RCW and VH-DUE 
Assembled at Bankstown. Blue, white and grey paint scheme
Registered VH-ENG Kitchener and Co, Sydney NSW
visited Avalon Vic airshow, flew a display
visited Mildura Vic airshow
noted at Bankstown
visited Canberra ACT airshow, flew a display
Arrived Parafield SA at finish of thtree day Ansett Air Race from Brisbane race #86,
pilot E. N. Graham
noted at Bankstown in Kingsford Smith Flying School hangar, reported as a demonstrator
noted at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne, arrived
noted at Adelaide Airport, arrived
visited Tumut NSW airshow
visited Wagga NSW airshow
Change of ownership:  E.N. Graham, Canberra ACT
noted at Canberra, in hangar. Also 23.3.67, 3.9.67, 31.12.67, 4.11.69
noted at Bankstown. Also 6.12.68
Gear-up landing on airport at Bankstown. Shortly after take-off the aircraft lost fuel pressure. The pilot maintained pressure with the hand pump but landed with the wheels in the retracted position. Pilot/owner E. N. Graham.
Damaged during attempted go-around at Bankstown. The aircraft swung violently to the right and came to rest 180 feet from the runway centre line, substantial damage.
Pilot/owner E. N. Graham.
Struck-off Register due damage on 30.11.71

Stored damaged
Rebuilt, reportedly using parts of VH-DUX
Restored to Register: P. Grant, Cheviot, Tasmania
visited Avalon Vic airshow, allover gloss metallic finish
noted at Avalon Vic, gloss metallic finish
Crashed in a swamp near Benambra, NSW
The pilot lost control and spun in whilst conducting an aerial inspection of strip prior to landing

Change of ownership: James Lillie, Melbourne Vic
James Lillie advises that VH-ENG is grounded pending overhaul and he is holding VH-DUE for spare parts
Change of ownership: Geoffrey R. Nichol, Melbourne Vic
Change of ownership: Norman B. Smith, Echuca Vic


                            VH-ENG at Canberra March 1963 in factory blue and white scheme.                      Photo by Bob Neate

                             Canberra September 1971                                                                      Photo: Ben Dannecker collection

                          Avalon Vic January 1993, now in a glossy metallic finish.                            Photo: Nigel K. Daw collection

                           c/n 15 06 03                                                                                                                       VH-RCW
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 47th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
Three Meta Sokols arrived in crates at Bankstown Airport, Sydney: VH-RCW, VH-ENG and VH-DUE all with registrations painted on at factory
VH-RCW assembled at Bankstown. Blue, white and grey factory paint scheme
Registered VH-RCW Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Change of ownership: Aviation Services (SA) and C. B. Tilbrook, Parafield SA
Change of ownership: C. B. Tilbrook, Adelaide SA
visited Cootamundra NSW airshow
noted at Parafield, in blue and white factory paint scheme
visited Mildura Vic airshow
Change of ownership: R.C. and V. Wagner, Lake Wangary SA
noted at Parafield in Aero Club hangar, just repainted in new scheme of white and pale blue 
noted at Parafield
visited Blyth SA airshow
noted at Parafield, at Aviation Services (SA) Ltd hangar. Resident. Also 28.6.64, 3.12.64
Change of ownership: G.T & C.P. Brown, Elliston SA, changed 8.68 to Banana Qld
noted at Parafield
visited Parafield airshow
noted at Moruya NSW
noted at Port Lincoln SA
Change of ownership: E. Oliver & Barbara J. Hardy, Springsure Qld, later Winton Qld
noted at Rockhampton Qld, in hangar, white with green lightning flash paintwork
noted at Rockhampton. Also 10.6.75
Change of ownership: O. E. Hardy, “Kittyvale” Station, Winton Qld
Struck-off Register, withdrawn from use
Reported damaged at Rockhampton, Qld: no details
noted at Rockhampton Qld, parked outside unairworthy. Also 7.8.80
noted at Rockhampton Qld, parked outside, damaged tailplane, no rudder, weather-faded paintwork
Restored to Register: Robert J. Goldstein, Paradise Waters, Gold Coast Qld
noted at Murwillimbah NSW, now repainted white with red/brown/yellow trim
visited Cowra NSW fly-in, white with red/brown/yellow trim. Also 25.4.97
visited Watts Bridge QLD fly-in
visited Bundaberg Qld airshow, white with red/brown/yellow stripe


                           Parafield SA September 1962 in the factory blue, white and grey scheme.             Photo by Geoff Goodall

                            Classic country airshow refuelling scene at Blyth SA in October 1963.                 Photo by Geoff Goodall

                              Parafield September 1966                                                                                    Photo: The Collection

                             VH-RCW at Rockhampton Qld in August 1980, with damaged tailplane and weathered faded paintwork.
Photo by Nigel K. Daw

                          Looking very smart at the annual Watts Bridge Qld fly-in in August 2004.              Photo by Paul C. Daw

                            Bundaberg Qld in August 2007                                                                               Photo by Dave Prossor

                              c/n 15 06 01                                                                                                                        VH-DUY  
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 45th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft

Assembled at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Red, white and grey paint scheme.
Registered VH-DUY Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
visited Scone NSW airshow
visited Ballarat Vic airshow
Change of ownership: Robert J. McCosh, Warnambool Vic

Bob McCosh was a construction contractor who earlier had been a foundation member of the Warrnambool Aero Club and had owned Tiger Moths VH-RTA and VH-CXY.
He often used VH-DUC to transport employees to construction sites
loaned to Wimmera Aero Club, Nhill Vic for several weeks evaluation
noted at Essendon Airport, Melbourne Vic
noted at Ballarat Vic, red and white
departed Archerfield Qld in the R. M. Ansett Air Race to Adelaide, race #84, entered and flown by R.J.McCosh.  Finished at Parafield SA 31.3.64
visited Naracoorte SA airshow
noted at Ararat Vic, in hangar having maintenance
visited Parafield SA airshow, red, white & grey
noted at Warrnambool Vic, in hangar
noted at Essendon, arrived
noted at Ararat Vic, red and white
noted at Ararat Vic, in hangar with wings removed. Same 19.4.68
noted at Ararat Vic
Damaged in forced landing 7 miles southwest of Colac Vic due poor weather. The pilot made a heavy landing and the aircraft was substantially damaged. Pilot/owner R. J. McCosh.
noted at Moorabbin Vic
visited Point Cook Vic fly-in, red and white factory scheme. Also 8.12.74
noted at Moorabbin Vic
Log book: engine replaced by another Walter
noted at Warrnambool Vic, dismantled in grass behind hangars, registration painted over,
original red & white paintwork
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from use

Stored dismantled in a farm shed for 25 years

Acquired by David Harris as a restoration project.
Restored to Register: David D. Harris, Charlie Zulu Lima Aviation, Adelaide SA
Airframe restoration stalled for several years but began again in 2013.  The Walter engine was boxed and shipped to manufacturer LOM Praha in Prague for overhaul

 Ballarat Victoria, 2 March 1964.                                            Photo by John M. Smith via SA Aviation Museum 

Parafield 30 March 1964 as race No.84 in the three day Ansett Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide
Photo by Geoff Goodall

                         Moorabbin October 1973, still factory paintwork except for the rudder.                           Photo by Eric Favelle

                             c/n 15 07 02                                                                                        VH-DUP, VH-EMR, VH-EMB
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 61st production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft

Assembled at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Factory blue, white and grey scheme
Registered VH-DUP Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
flew demonstrations at Bankstown at a Dulmison Aircraft Sales Day, along with Aero 145 VH-DUH, Morava L-200 OK-OHC and Zlin Trener Master OK-OND. This group of Czech aircraft then visited other airports in southern Australia in June 1961 on a sales tour
Change of ownership: Lombard (Australia) Finance Ltd, Sydney NSW
Re-registered VH-EMR Gold Coast Air Services Ltd, Surfers Paradise Qld

Gold Coast Air Services Ltd was associated with Coastal Airways Pty Ltd based at Coolangatta and Mackay Qld. Coastal Airways owned LET Morava L200A VH-EMV and arranged to lease the Meta-Sokol VH-EMR to be based at Mackay.
photo VH-EMR with titles "Coastal Airways Pty Ltd"
Re-registered VH-EMB Dr C. Holmes, Inverell NSW 
noted at Inverell NSW
noted at Archerfield Qld. Also 16.6.67, 10.2.68
noted at Bankstown, original blue, white & grey paintwork
Change of ownership: Southside Auto Auctions, Buranda, Brisbane Qld
Change of ownership: Michael J. Murray, Colac Vic
noted at Essendon Vic
noted at Warrnambool Vic, entry No.99 in Moomba Air Race
visited Point Cook Vic fly-in, blue & white
Change of ownership: B. S. Stillwell - Civil Flying Services Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Vic
Change of ownership: J. Ferrugia, Melbourne Vic
noted at Moorabbin,  blue, white & grey paintwork 
noted at Melton Vic, blue and white
noted at Melton Vic, propped on its nose for repaint, all silver undercoat
noted at Melton, new white and orange paint scheme
noted at Sunbury Vic
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
Reported to be stored pending a rebuild

Just assembled, at Bankstown May 1961 at the Dulmison Aircraft Sales Day, with a range of other Czech types.
Photo by David Daw

Wagga NSW May 1961 during Dulmison's "flying circus tour" demonstrating its range of Czech aircraft.   
Photo: Fred Burke

Now re-registered VH-EMB, at Bankstown in March 1968.                                            Photo by Dave Eyre

                          Warracknabeal Vic, March 1970 as Race No.99 in the Moomba Air Race.             Photo by Nigel K. Daw

Some changes to the paintwork were evident by April 1974 at Melton Vic.              Photo by Nigel Daw

VH-EMB during repainting at Melton Vic in December 1974.          Photo by John M. Smith via SAAM

Melton Vic December 1975, showing off a new paint scheme.            Photo by John M. Smith via SAAM

                            c/n 15 06 02                                                                                                                        VH-DUT   
 Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 46th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft

Assembled at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Blue, white & grey paint scheme
Registered VH-DUT Lombard (Australia) Finance Ltd, Sydney NSW
Operated by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney
Change of ownership: Seers and Swain Manufacturers, Orange NSW
Change of ownership: Dubbo Aero Club, Dubbo NSW
noted at Dubbo in hangar, still with titles “Seers and Swain Manufacturers, Orange”
Damaged in forced landing near Canberra ACT.
DCA accident report:  "Engine power failed on the final approach for landing because of exhaustion of fuel in the selected tank. The aircraft was then landed in a ploughed field."
noted at Essendon Airport, Melbourne in Executive Air Services hangar, for damage repair. Blue & white with titles “Seers and Swain Manufacturers, Orange”
noted at Essendon, repairs nearly completed
noted at Dubbo NSW
visited Orange NSW airshow
Change of ownership: E. Grove, Blackall Qld
noted at Bankstown, original blue, white & grey paint scheme
noted at Archerfield Airport, Brisbane, Also 16.10.66
Change of ownership: W. Bligh, Morven Qld
noted at Archerfield, flying
Change of ownership: R. Tait, Inglewood Qld
Forced landing 35 miles southwest of Mundubbera Qld after engine failure. The aircraft was on a flight from Roma to Maryborough. Pilot O. Johnstone unhurt, owner R. Tait.

DCA accident report: "While cruising in level flight the engine commenced to vibrate severely. Engine instrumentation remained normal and a magneto check was satisfactory. The vibration increased rapidly to such a degree that the pilot had no alternative but to close the throttle fully and carry out a forced landing. The aircraft was over very rough terrain and the only field available was 1,580 feet in length with trees to 70 feet high at one end and to 20 feet high at the other. The approach was made towards the taller timber, with the wheels down and half flap in a cross wind of about 10 knots from the left. After touching down the pilot realized that the aircraft would overrun the available area and he immediately initiated a turn to the right. Because of the speed and the rough surface, the aircraft skidded sideways and the undercarriage collapsed."
Struck-off Register due crash 5.10.69
noted at Tocumwal NSW
Restored to register: Ronald C. Truscott, Tailem Bend SA
noted at Strathalbyn SA, blue & white
visited Cowra NSW fly-in, blue and white
Change of ownership: David D. Harris, Charlie Zulu Lima Aviation, Adelaide SA
visited Jamestown SA airshow
noted Parafield, dismanted, purple and gold paint scheme, named Violet Crumble
visited Wentworth NSW fly-in, purple and gold paint scheme
visited Cowra NSW fly-in, purple and gold paint scheme
visited Temora NSW fly-in, purple & gold
Minor damage in forced landing in a farm paddock near Pallamana airfield SA, struck a fence.
Arrived by road at Parafield SA for repair

Currently registered

Dubbo NSW December 1963, "Sears & Swain Manufacturers, Orange" on the fuselage and emblem on the tail
Photo by Bob Neate

                                Bankstown August 1966                                                                        Photo: Ben Dannecker collection

                            Archerfield Qld, October 1966                                                                        Photo by Bob Livingstone

                          Cowra NSW April 1997                                                                                         Photo by Dave Eyre

                           Wentworth NSW October 2007                                                                                Photo by Phil Vabre

                               c/n 15 07 05                                                                                                                      VH-DEH
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 64th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
150705 noted at Bankstown Airport, Sydney, awaiting assembly
VH-DEH noted at Bankstown assembled. Pale blue, green and white paint scheme, different style to previous L-40s imported
Registered VH-DEH Coastal Aircraft, Sydney NSW
Canopy panel cracked by student pilot's shoulder, pilot Harton
noted at Bankstown
Tailwheel collapsed on landing Bankstown NSW. Pilot Nichol
noted at Bankstown, outside Kingsford Smith Flying School hangar
Damaged at Wallacia NSW. Pilot Hayman (CPL 477 hrs, on type 4 only) was unhurt.
DCA accident report: "The pilot overshot during an attempt to land and at a late stage decided to go-around but the aircraft collided with a tree stump and a fence."
noted at Archerfield Qld
noted at Bankstown, green and white
Fuel pressure gauge failure, Bankstown NSW. Pilot Phil Dulhunty
Crashed on takeoff Wallacia NSW. 
Pilot Robert Shute (SCPL 4086 hrs, 8 on type) was conducting a joyflight. He and one passenger were killed, two other passengers seriously hurt.
DCA accident report: "The pilot attempted to take off at an excessive AUW in downwind conditions. Shortly after becoming airborne the aircraft stalled, rolled to the left and struck the ground inverted."

Wreckage dumped outside at Bankstown Airport

First engine runs after assembly at Bankstown in May 1963.                                 Photo by Geoff Goodall

Bankstown June 1975.                                                                                        Photo by Dave Eyre

                             c/n 15 05 10                                                                                                                        VH-DUE
Built by Orlican at Chocen, Czechoslovakia as the 39th production Meta Sokol

Ordered by Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Czech Export CofA issued

Packed and shipped to Australia as a new production aircraft
arrived in crate at Bankstown Airport, Sydney from docks, with VH-ENG & VH-RCW
No prospective sale, stored
Registered VH-DUE  Gold Coast Air Services Ltd, Surfers Paradise, Qld
Change of ownership: L. Blackman, Nerang Qld
noted at Coolangatta Qld
Change of ownership: D. Gutke, Kalbar Qld
noted at Archerfield Qld. Also 20.11.66, 19.12.66, 21.8.67
Change of ownership: H. Payne, Springsure Qld, later Oberon NSW
During the landing roll at Rockhampton Qld in a crosswind, the aircraft groundlooped and ran through a fence. Substantial damage resulted to the port undercarriage and a wing.
Pilot D. Williams unhurt.
noted at Rockhampton Qld, parked outside on landing gear, right wing leading edge dents,
prop removed: faded original blue/white/grey paint scheme
noted at Rockhampton. Also 1.1.73
noted at Rockhampton, dismantled in hangar. Also 10.6.74, 7.8.74
noted at Rockhampton, assembled, faded paintwork, cowlings removed for engine work 
Change of ownership: Fox and Lillie, Melbourne Vic
Change of ownership: James Lillie, Melbourne Vic
Forced landing on a road near Inverleigh Vic, due rough running engine. Left wing struck a road sign post and aircraft slewed to left and ran through a fence.
noted at Tyabb Vic
visited Cowra NSW flyin, red, white and bronze
noted at Moruya NSW
Change of ownership: Geoffrey Nicol, Melbourne Vic


VH-DUE at Rockhampton Qld in July 1970.  Damage sustained in a landing accident here the previous month
resulted in an eventual six year stay on the ground here.                                      Photo by Roger McDonald

VH-DUE at Cowra NSW in April 1999.                                                               Photo by Nigel K. Daw

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                 Only one example of the early post-war wooden Sokol M1C three seater cabin touring aircraft came to Australia, delivered by air in 1949 for Australian agents Fleetwings (Queensland) Pty Ltd, which for a short time represented a range of European aircraft manufacturers.  The previous year Fleetwings had promoted the French metal 3-seater Nord Norecrin and planned an Australian tour with a Norecrin during May 1948 but it did not eventuate

                Fleetwings arranged to have their first M1C demonstrator HB-TAE flown out by two migrating Swiss pilots in 1949. It was registered VH-AXY in April 1950 but after demonstrations and advertising failed to generate any further orders, it was sold to a local Brisbane private owner.  Intriguingly, in January 1953 an established Archerfield aircraft maintenance business Carswell & Dalgleish
applied to import another Sokol M1C, but it did not arrive and no further details are known.

                After ten years of active flying in Australia, VH-AXY later re-registered VH-BXY was a victim of the DCA Airworthiness ruling on certain aircraft types with synthetic glued wooden airframes. On 21 September 1962 the Minister for Civil Aviation announced restrictions on some wooden construction aircraft types because of proven deterioration of the glued joints. Effective immediately, these aircraft types were restricted to Private Category operations only, pilot must be the owner and no passengers carried. Their Certificates of Airworthiness would be permanently withdrawn on 31 December 1963.  A total of 28 aircraft on the current Australian Civil Register were affected: 
- DH.94 and DHA Moth Minor
- Miles Gemini, Aries, Messenger & Mercury
- Percival Proctor V
- Mraz Sokol M1C
               At that time Sokol VH-BXY was based at Parafield Airport, Adelaide where its was retired in early 1963 and pushed to the back of a hangar and the outer wings removed. Over following years it was moved between storage locations until 1967 when it was taken by road to RAAF Edinburgh SA where an air force pilot planned a private rebuild project. Nothing has been heard of the aircraft since.

                           c/n 254          Benes-Mraz Sokol M.1C                                                    HB-TAE, VH-AXY,  VH-BXY
Built at Chocen, Czechoslovakia by Ing. J. Mraz Company.
Production M.1C Sokol, 105hp Walter Minor 4-III engine

Registered in Switzerland as HB-TAE
Mr. T. Donovan, Managing Director of Fleetwings (Queensland) Pty Ltd announced that a Czech-built Sokol is being delivered to Australia to be a demonstrator for his company which represents the Czech manufacturer 
Advertisement in Aircraft magazine: picture of a Sokol M1C:
Fleetwings Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne: announcing they are representatives for Czechoslovakian aircraft, SNAC (French) and a range of American aviation components.
"Demonstration in Australia of the Czechoslavak Sokol M1C light 3 seater will be given, by arrangement"
HB-TAE departed Zurich for Australia.
Flown by two Swiss pilots who were migrating to Australia, Doctor Rudolph Brunnschweiler and Mr. Otto Hegetschweiler.  Dr. Brunnschweiler is a geologist who will take up a position with the Department of Mineral Resources in Canberra, and Mr. Hegetschweiler, a champion glider pilot, will seek employment in Sydney in his trade as a cabinet-maker.
“This Sokol flies Switzerland-Australia” was painted on the nose cowlings

Forced landing on a desert track while enroute Baghdad to Karachi. Fired on by desert nomads while circling, but after landing the pilots were fed by the nomads

Forced landing in East Bengal on a disused Indian bomber airstrip at Cox's Bazaar. Propeller damaged during the landing. 3 week wait for replacement propeller to be sent from Europe
Reached Australia, landing at Wyndham WA. Then to Darwin the same day to clear Customs
HB-TAE landed at Canberra after being flown from Switzerland by Doctor Brunnschweiler and Mr. Otto Hegetachweilor
HB-TAE flown Canberra-Melbourne by the Swiss pilots to be handed over to Feetwings, for whom they flew the aircraft from Europe
Registered VH-AXY Fleetwings (Queensland) Pty Ltd, Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane Qld

Fleetwings Aircraft Supplies, Melbourne were Australian agents for several European built aircraft types. Fleetwings announced that a second Sokol was being brought to Australia but that did not eventuate
Change of ownership: Max W. Hopp, Brisbane Qld

28.9.53 Courier Mail newspaper, Brisbane: article on pilots flying aircraft for business:
Max Hopp, a 38 year old Brisbane businessman with mining interests at Armidale NSW flies himself in a snappy Czechoslovakian Sokol light plane. He is looking around for a second plane.”
Departed Bankstown in the 1954 REDeX Air Reliability Trial, flown by Max Hopp, builder and H. A. Collins (a TAA pilot). They had waxed the wings and fuselage to reduce drag.
Route from Bankstown to Brisbane, Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Wagga returning to Bankstown.  Delayed at Wagga NSW on last day with engine trouble
Change of ownership: Santos, Adelaide SA
VH-AXY noted at Parafield SA
Re-registered VH-BXY Chris R.Semmler & R.E. Obst, Adelaide SA

Registration change required by DCA after the Department recognised its own administrative oversight in allowed VH-AXY to be allocated in 1950. The VH-AX block had been ruled invalid in 1948 because of conflict with international radio codes.
VH-BXY noted at Adelaide Airport, white with black trim
VH-BXY noted at Parafield, hand repaint of the "A" to "B"
Change of ownership: R. Sprigg, Adelaide SA
noted at Parafield
Change of ownership: Chris R.Semmler, Adelaide SA
Struck-off Register at owner's request
noted at Parafield in hangar, outer wings removed, engine stripped. Also 5.9.63, 12.10.63,
noted at Parafield in a storage shed, wings removed
noted at Parafield in Air Mist hangar, wings and engine removed. Also 29.11.64
Purchased by Bob Burnett-Read, Adelaide SA

He was President of the Vintage Aircraft Club of Australia and owned BA Swallow VH-UUM, Comper Swift VH-ACG, DH.80 Puss Moth VH-ABU, Proctors VH-GGB & SCC.
Sokol moved from Parafield to Burnett-Read's house in North Adelaide. Stored in his garage.
noted in Burnett-Read's garage, with BA Swallow VH-UUM
Sold to a military pilot based at RAAF Edinburgh, Adelaide
Moved by road from North Adelaide to RAAF Edinburgh for storage

Fate unknown

Archerfield Qld 1949.                                                                                                Photo: The Collection

HB-TAE attracts attention during a visit to RAAF Amberley in 1949.          Photo: Ron Cuskelly collection

The nose inscription reads "This Sokol flew Switzerland-Australia".              Photo: Ron Cuskelly collection

Sokol VH-AXY during the September 1954 REDeX Trial, with Percival Gull VH-UTP.
Photo by Laurie Crowley

Reregistered VH-BXY, at Parafield SA in May 1962. White and grey with blue trim.   Photo by Geoff Goodall

Adelaide Airport, February 1962 sholwing the wooden Sokol's sleek lines.               Photo by Geoff Goodall

The Sokol rolled out of Bob Burnett-Read's garage in suburban North Adelaide when his BA Swallow
VH-UUM was moved to another Adelaide storage location in December 1966.  
Even for Adelaide, the deserted background indicates it was a very early hour on a Sunday morning.   
Photo by Geoff Goodall

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           The Department of Civil Aviation register of Australian Import Permits provides a usefulsummary of Czech aircraft, engines and
glider imports. All these Import Permit applications were approved and issued.  Remarks in italics are the compiler's. 
My thanks to Melvyn Davis for transcribing the following from the written DCA Import Permit ledger which ended in 1976:

Application date
Import Item
Sokol M1C
Fleetwings Pty Ltd
Import date 26.6.49. To VH-AXY
Sokol M1C
Carswell & Dagleish, Brisbane
not imported
Aero 45
C.W.Russell, Dalby Qld
not imported
20 x Walter Mikron engines
Aviation Sales Pty Ltd, Sydney

Aero 45
Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown
Zlin 126 Trener
Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown VH-PXB
Aero 45
Aviation Sales Pty Ltd, Sydney not imported
Super Aero 45
Phoenix Aviation Co, Adelaide
not imported
Zlin 126 Trener Phoenix Aviation Co, Adelaide not imported
2 x Walter Mikron engines Phoenix Aviation Co, Adelaide
6 x Avia L60 Brigadyr
Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd, Sydney
not imported
Meta Sokol LD40
Phoenix Aviation Co Ltd & C.B.Tilbrook, Adelaide not imported
Meta Sokol
Dulmison Australia, Sydney
Aero 145
Dulmison Pty Ltd

Super Aero 45
Executive Air Services, Essendon
not imported
Walter Mikron engine P.S.Carr

Blanik glider

Zlin Trener Master
Import date 9.5.61.  To VH-DBZ
Meta Sokol
Import date 30.10.61
Aero 145

2 x Aero 145

3 x Meta Sokol

L200 Morava
7 x Meta Sokol

Blanik glider
Riley & Co, Colac Vic

6 x Blanik glider
Riley & Co Pty Ltd

8 x Blanik glider
Riley & Co

8 x Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics

Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics

Walter M332 engine
Civil Flying Services, Moorabbin
For R. J. McCosh. For Meta Sokol VH-DUY
8 x Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics
2 x Blanik glider
Riley & Co

8 x Blanik glider
Riley & Co

Walter M332 engine
Commodore Aviation, Pt Lincoln SA

Walter M332 engine M. J. Murray
Import date 6.72. For Meta Sokol VH-EMB
6 x Blanik L13 glider
Riley Aeronautics (Australia) Pty Ltd

Omnipol M332 engine
R. J. McCosh Import date 10.72. For Meta Sokol VH-DUY
8 x Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics (Australia) Pty Ltd
20 x Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics (Australia) Pty Ltd
8 x Blanik glider
Riley Aeronautics (Australia) Pty Ltd


- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
- Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, monthly, 1960-1970
- SA Air Journal, monthly journal, 1963-1968
- Australian Air Log, monthly journal, 1965-1968
- Never A Dull Moment, Philip Dulhunty, self-published, Sydney 2009
- The Aircraft of the World, William Green & Gerald Pollinger, Macdonald, London 1965
- National Library of Australia, Trove newspaper archive search website
- Classic Wings Downunder magazine, renamed Classic Wings: references to Sokol M1C and Meta Sokols in Australia
- Flightpath magazine: references to Czech aircraft in Australia

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