National Aviation Day in Romania Date in the current year: June 17, 2024

National Aviation Day in Romania National Aviation Day in Romania is observed annually on June 17. On this day in 1910, Romanian engineer and inventor Aurel Vlaicu flew his first powered airplane, the A Vlaicu I, for the first time.

The first Romanian inventor who attempted to design and build an airplane was Traian Vuia. In March 1906, he tested his first tractor monoplane at a site near Paris. The machine aircraft left the ground after accelerating for about 50 meters, lifted off to a height of about 1 meter, and traveled for a distance of about 12 meters. Although Vuia’s monoplane was unsuccessful in sustained flight, Traian Vuia is considered one of Romanian aviation pioneers.

The first Romanian aircraft capable of sustained flight was designed and build by Aurel Vlaicu. Having earned his engineering diploma in 1907, Vlaicu worked for Opel for a couple of years before leaving the company to focus on airplane construction. He started with building a glider and then obtained funding from the Ministry of War of Romania to build his first powered airplane.

On June 17, 1910, Vlaicu flew his airplane for the first time over the Cotroceni airfield in western Bucharest. The anniversary of this flight is now celebrated as National Aviation Day in Romania. In September 1910, Vlaicu participated in military exercises and flew his plane from Slatina to Piatra Olt.

In April 1911, Vlaicu presented his second aircraft, the A. Vlaicu Nr. II. In June 1912, he competed with it at the International Flight Week in Vienna, winning a total of 7,500 Austro-Hungarian Kronen in prize money. Sadly, Vlaicu did not finish building his third airplane; on September 13, 1913, he crashed and died while attempting to fly across the Carpathian Mountains in his A. Vlaicu Nr. II airplane.

Vlaicu’s aircraft are credited with boosting the development of both military and civil aviation in Romania. The Romanian Air Force was officially founded in 1913, and the development of civil aviation in the country officially kicked off in 1920. Romania has been a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization since 1965 and the European Civil Aviation Conference since 1991.

For an Eastern European country, Romania has a well-developed airport infrastructure, consisting of sixteen commercial airports. However, it is still underdeveloped as per Western standards. Four Romanian airports (Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport, Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu International Airport, Timișoara Traian Vuia International Airport, Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport) are capable of handling jumbo jets.

The flag carrier of Romania is TAROM; it is the country’s oldest currently operating airline. Other Romanian international carriers include the low-cost airline Blue Air and the corporate charter airline Țiriac Air. The country also has several aeronautical manufacturing companies, such as Aerostar, Industria Aeronautică Română (IAR), and Avioane Craiova.

In addition to National Aviation Day, observed on June 17, Romania celebrates National Air Force Day on July 20.

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