of the first Romanian airplane
Aurel Vlaicu was born in
Bintini, outside Orastie, Romania on November 19,
1882, the first child born into a peasant family.
After completing his basic education at the
Orastie high school, he studied engineering,
first in Budapest and then at the University of
Munchen in Germany, from which he received his
degree in 1907. He then spent about a year
working as an engineer at the Opel Engine Factory
in Russelsheim, Germany.
In 1909, Vlaicu moved back to
Bintini, where he built a glider that he used to
conduct several flight tests. He then moved to
Bucharest, where he built an airplane model. His
flight tests with the model so impressed
government officials that he was able to secure
permission to build a full-scale airplane at the
Army Arsenal Factory. He flew the "Vlaicu
I," without any modifications to his design,
Having successfully flown the
first Romanian-built airplane, Vlaicu began
working on "Vlaicu II" in 1911. On
August 11 of that year he flew his new plane a
distance of 3.7 miles at an altitude of 164 feet.
On August 27 he flew in front of 20,000 people on
Liberty Plain, in Blaj, during the 50th
anniversary celebration of the Romanian
Literature and Culture Association, after which
he "barnstormed" several major Romanian
towns. During his tour, Vlaicu achieved an
altitude of 3,281 feet and a range speed of 56
miles per hour. At the 1912 International Contest
in Aspern, Austria, he won first prize for
hitting a designated target from an altitude of
984 feet with a projectile and second prize for
the most accurate landing.
In 1913, Vlaicu began buildimg
"Vlaicu III," an all-metal airplane
with which he intended to become the first person
to fly an airplane over the Carpathian Mountains.
Upon learning that another man was also planning
to make the attempt, Vlaicu decided not to wait
and took off from Bucharest in "Vlaicu
II." On September 13, he was flying over the
village of Banesti when his wings broke and the
plane crashed, killing him on impact.
Vlaicu's untimely death shocked
his friends, many of whom saw to it that
"Vlaicu III" was completed. In 1918 the
high school in Orastie was named in his honor.
Early Aviators http://www.earlyaviators.com/evlaicu.htm
Questions or comments about