Finnish Air Force retires L-70 Vinka trainer aircraft

The Valmet L-70 Vinka elementary school aircraft will retire from the Finnish Air Force on September 1, 2022 after more than 40 years of service. The use of Vinka in the Air Force began in 1980.

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Finnish Air Force retires L 70 Vinka trainer aircraft 01 Valmet L-70 Vinka  (Picture source: Finnish Air Force)

Designed and built in Finland, the piston engine Vinka was developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the Swedish-made Saab Safir as an elementary school machine. The aircraft prototype LEKO-70 made its first flight on July 1, 1975. The first plane in the production series, VN-1, made its first flight on 29 December 1979, and the Vinkas came into use for the Air Force in Kauhava in 1980. After the Safiers retired from service in 1982, practically all airplane and helicopter pilots of the Defense Forces and the Border Guard have taken their first steps in flying at the controls of the Vinka.

For more than 40 years, student pilots have made their first solo flights as well as their type and orientation training flights at Vinka. In addition, Vinkos have been used, for example, to practice night flying, instrument flight in low visibility conditions, and aerobatics. In 2005, all Vinkas were moved from Kauhava to Tikkakoski together with the training activities of the flight reserve officer course.

Finnish Air Force retires L 70 Vinka trainer aircraft 02 VN-1 leaving for its maiden flight on December 29, 1979 (Picture source: Finnish Air Force)

The Air Force has had a total of 30 Vinkas bearing the type designation VN. Many types of structural strengthening work and other modifications have been made to the machines during their long service history. In 2002, the planes received the Garmin GNS 430 avionics system.

Decommissioned Vinkos have been handed over for public use, primarily to educational institutions and museums. The Finnish Defense Forces will sell the remaining approximately 15 machines at an auction during the fall of 2022.

The Grob G 115E will replace Vinka as the Air Force's primary school plane, of which a total of 28 have been purchased.

Finnish Air Force retires L 70 Vinka trainer aircraft 03 Grob G 115E  (Picture source: Finnish Air Force)