Adrian Deheleanu

Începuturile aviaţiei române / The Beginnings of Romanian Aviation

Jan. 1, 2011

aviation unit



Due to the great Romanian inventors, such as Vuia Traian, Aurel Vlaicu and Henri Coanda, Romania was one of the first countries possessing military aircraft capable of military operations during the First World War. Providing military aviation was a continuing concern during the period between late 1912 and the end of 1913. While planning during this period did lead to an increased number of planes, it failed to provide significant combat potential. The contribution of Romanian pilots in World War I was substantial and they acted in the field with great tactical agility, providing ground troops with important, often vital, information. During the First World War the Romanian pilots demonstrated their high soldierly virtues. In total they logged 8160 flight hours. These included 703 adjustments for the Romanian and Russian artillery, 6981 aerial photographs, 560 combat air missions, and dozens of bombing missions, from which 61, 8 tons of bombs were dropped on enemy targets. They also conducted over 80 link missions and 6 special air missions (launching the manifestos). In the two years of war, the enemy lost 41 aircraft, 31 being shot down by Romanian, French and British pilots, and 10 by the anti-aircraft artillery guns. At the time of entry into the war, the aircraft owned by the Romanian state were old model planes which were not armed. However, the aircraft were still used in combat missions, which led to heavy losses during the early days of the war. The lack of an aviation industry was acutely felt, and the equipping of the squadrons with planes was only possible after the arrival of the aircraft ordered in France or delivered by the Allies, according to the military agreement signed in August 1916. The Romanian Air Force had a particularly important role in the campaign during the summer of 1917, when the Moldavian front managed to stop the German offensive which aimed at removing Romania from the war and to strengthen the economy of the Central Powers. Reconnaissance aviation – centered on the discovery of enemy artillery positions and other depth targets, and military flight schools – which provided the optimum conditions for teaching aviation personnel – played an important role during the campaigns of 1916 and 1917. The successful use of aviation during the 1916–1918 campaign had direct consequences for the development of this weapon in the near future, and for its recognition as an elite weapon, able to respond rapidly to threats that were looming on the eastern and western borders of unified Romania. The changing world political, social and geographical situation, led to a development boom in science and culture in post-war Romania, and created a framework in which the further development of aviation was also a part. Aviation appeared in the first decade of the twentieth century. During this period of world aviation birth, which coincides with the beginnings of Romanian aviation, the creative genius of our people was manifested boldly in the domain of mechanical flight, emerging internationally, primarily through its representatives Traian Vuia, Aurel Vlaicu and Henri Coanda. Their achievements have contributed to the conception and development of global aviation. As a result, they occupy a well deserved place among the pioneers of aviation. The originality of their ideas, which they applied to building aircraft, along with the efforts and achievements of other Romanian manufacturers in the same period or later – give us the right to say that Romania is a country with a great tradition in the field of aircraft construction. It should be noted that the rise of aviation and its entry into the industrial age took place along with the preparation and the conduct of World War I. The plane was transformed from a curiosity into a powerful war machine; first used to observe the enemy and to conduct artillery spotting, and then for air combat missions for the destruction of living forces and military equipment, including the elimination of enemy aircraft.