Aurel Vlaicu - Romanian Icarus above the Carpathians


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Aurel Vlaicu - Romanian Icarus above the Carpathians

  1. 1. Aurel Vlaicu – Romanian Icarus above the Carphatians
  2. 2.  In a sunny day of spring, the son of Dumitru and Ana Vlaicu from Bintini village, near Orastie, Hunedoara County, had arrived in Munchen to attend the prestigious Polytechnic University. It was the beginning of a brilliant dream of a young Romanian who wrote history in Aeronautics. Unfortunately, poorly known by today's generations, Aurel Vlaicu didn't hesitate to pay with his own youth and life to turn his dream into reality!  Aurel Vlaicu was brave, even defiant, modest, ambitious dreamer, talented, patriotic, grateful and, above all, creative. He performed the first flight in Romania, with a heavier than air aircraft.
  3. 3.  He had a temperamental behavior which brought him trouble since high school. In 1902 he studied at the State High school from Sibiu, then for 2 years he attended the Faculty of Mechanics in the Polytechnic School from Budapest.  He enrolled as a volunteer in the Navy, doing military service in the city of Pula, which is an Adriatic Sea port, today in Croatia. He obtained his engineer diploma after graduating prestigious Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.
  4. 4.  Right after graduation, he worked for a short time as an engineer for the famous Opel car factory. However, Aurel Vlaicu was not satisfied. His strong character made him not to accept the comfortable destiny of a respected engineer at Opel Factory.  Aurel Vlaicu came back to Transylvania in 1908. A year later he built his first glider, with the help of his brother, Ion. He managed to perform several flights with this glider in Bintinti, his home village, in the summer of 1909.
  5. 5.  Later that year he moved to Bucharest in the Kingdom of Romania, where he began the construction of his airplane Vlaicu I, the famous aircraft that flew for the first time on June 17, 1910 over Cotroceni airfield.
  6. 6.  Vlaicu wrote History. Due to his facts and activity, Aurel Vlaicu placed Romania on the second place in the world, after France, in using planes with military purpose. A year later, the engineer Vlaicu built a second plane, the famous Vlaicu II, which has flew in numerous cities of the kingdom, giving him the chance to present his new invention to the whole world.
  7. 7. His own succes didn’t stop here. Aurel Vlaicu took part in the war in Bulgaria and he performed observations and spying missions from his plane.  In 1913 the English company Marconi decided to launch a new project asking Aurel Vlaicu to draw and build a metallic plane, which had two seats. The Romanian engineer started working and in a few months he finished his masterpiece, which had the name Vlaicu III. His genius mind delivered a precious invention for mankind which represented the first functional plane in the hole world entirely built from metal.
  8. 8.  His intention was to participate in the Astra Fest near Orastie in order to salute the Romanian people from Ardeal/Transylvania. His attempt didn’t follow the plan and everything went terribly wrong.
  9. 9.  The inventor took off from Bucharest, landed without any troubles in Ploiesti for refueling and took off again. His plane crashed in Banesti, near Campina. The officials went there, made an investigation and found that the cause of the crash was Vlaicu’s health. During the flight he suffered a heart attack and he couldn’t control the plane, therefore he crashed. The whole nation was in shock because a great engineer died from a young age.
  10. 10. His funeral took place in the Bellu cemetery from Bucharest. From the report written by the lieutenant Gheorghe Negrescu , the first man arrived at the place of the accident, the face of the hero was relaxed, Aurel Vlaicu had smiled in the face of death.
  11. 11.  Vlaicu is the prototype of the inventor who shown his skill since childhood, he was famous in his village and then in the secondary schools he attended, for all kinds of 'inventions' he designed and for his crafts that flew with an amazing ingenuity. Among all his technical passions, the one who stood the most in his heart was making aircrafts. During his short career, Vlaicu built three original, arrow-shaped airplanes. All his planes had flight controls in front, two coaxial propellers, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics-like ring around the engine, and tricycle-landing gear with independent suspension and brakes.  At the time of his death, a two-seated monoplane Vlaicu III, contracted by Marconi Company for experiments and with aerial wireless radio, was only partially built. After Vlaicu’s death, the plane was completed by his friends Giovanni Magnani and Constantin Silişteanu, and several short experimental flights were made during 1914. Further tests were hindered by the unusual controls of the airplane which no other pilot was familiar with. In 1916, during the German occupation of Bucharest, Vlaicu III was seized and shipped to Germany. The airplane was last seen in a 1942 during the exhibition of aviation which took place in Berlin.
  12. 12. Vlaicu was posthumously elected as a member of the Romanian Academy in 1948. The second largest airport in Romania is named after him: The Aurel Vlaicu International Airport. A museum was established in his home village. The 50 Romanian Lei banknote has a portrait of Vlaicu on the obverse, and on the reverse there is a drawing of one of his airplanes and a cross-section of its Gnome rotary engine.
  13. 13.  “No sign of fear was on his face. A gentle smile was petrified on his lips and the face was bright with a holly expression of quietness. This represented his accomplished duty that he loved so much.” This is a quote from Gheorghe Negrescu’s book written in his memory.
  14. 14. Last year, on the 19 th of November 2012, the world celebrated 130 years from Aurel Vlaicu’s birth, the Romanian engineer, inventor, airplane constructor, pilot, pioneer of Romanian aviation, creator of three unique-shaped aerodynamic planes known as “Vlaicu I”, “Vlaicu II” and “Vlaicu III”.