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The Air Force Staff organizes, on Thursday, June 17, military ceremonies to celebrate 100 years since Aurel Vlaicu succeeded his first flight with an airplane designed in Romania.

The "Aurel Vlaicu" Air Force School organizes the Open Gates day on the same date, starting 09.30 hrs as well as a ceremony for the decoration of the Combat Flag of the unit and an air show at 14.00 hrs.

The AFI Cotroceni Mall in Bucharest was built on the site of what once was Cotroceni Airdrome – the place where the first flight with "Vlaicu I" airplane took place, while at 10.00 hrs. a commemoration plate will be unveiled.

The main hall of the mall will host the full size models of the airplanes "Aurel Vlaicu 1909" and "Vlaicu II" that belong to the Museum of the Aviation.

Military aircraft of the 90th Air Base and of the Air Force School will fly over the Cotroceni Field in memory of Aurel Vlaicu and the ongoing tradition of Romanian aeronautics.
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Aurel Vlaicu built airplane "Vlaicu I" in 1910, with the support of the Romanian government of the time that allowed him to use the resources of the Armed Forces Arsenal, where he worked as an engineer. The Ministry of War pledged itself, by contract, to ensure the necessary materials to build the engine and to buy it, on condition that the airplane became the property of the Romanian Armed Forces. A Gnôme-type rotary engine was chosen for the project, that developed 50 HP. Vlaicu finished building the engine at the end of May 1910. The airplane weighed 300 kg, including the pilot, propelled by two propellers that rotated in contrary directions.

The first flight took place on June 17, 1910, on the Cotroceni field. "Vlaicu I" aircraft flew for 50 m, 3-4 m above the ground. Other demonstrations followed during which Aurel Vlaicu succeeded to fly at an altitude of 50 m. On August 13, 1910, a military committee witnessed the two flights, which proved decisive for the future of both "Vlaicu I" airplane and its builder. Considering it might prove useful for surveillance missions, the committee recommended a special airplane section be established within the Armed Forces Arsenal, headed by engineer Aurel Vlaicu.

In September 1910, the airplane got the first combat mission in the history of the Romanian military aviation. During the maneuvers in Oltenia region, Aurel Vlaicu carried a document from Slatina to Piatra Olt, flying at a 500 m altitude for 35 minutes. On October 17, 1910, the Ministry of War organized a public demonstration flight of the airplane on the Băneasa Hippodrome.

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Actualizare: 21.02.2019