Watching out for something special and exotic this year the Romanian International Air Show (RoIAS) caught my attention. The two day event was celebrated at the Mihail Kogalniceanu AB near Constanta not far from the Black Sea in honour of the 100th anniversary of "mechanical flying" in Romania. MiGs, sunshine and the prospect of taking a bath in the sea after the show were very promising for a successful trip.
Where? Mihail Kogalniceanu - Constanta, Romania
As Romania is still one of the few countries operating the MiG-21 in the upgraded Lancer-Version, I soon organized my flight from Munich directly to Constanta with Carpatair, which was also an official sponsor of the airshow.Sitting on the jump seat in the cockpit of the Saab 2000 I landed on Friday evening at CND in style and already got an impression of what to expect during the next few days.
To celebrate the centenary of flight a "Vlaicu II" replica also taxied on the taxiway in the morning, exactly the way it did 100 years ago, but the strong wind impeded it to take off. The show program was the same on both days with Romanian Air Force (RoAF) flight demonstrations in the morning and the foreign jet and display team displays in the afternoon. During the lunch break the Romania Aeroclub presented some aerobatic and formation flying.
IAR-99, An-26 & L-39
An-26 parachutists & Yak-52
The disadvantage of this schedule was the fact that the flying in the morning was strongly backlit, which was a real shame for interesting formation fly-bys (5 Yak-52s / IAR99, AN-26 and L-39 / 5 IAR 316B and 9 IAR 330S / 9 MiG-21) and the two very spectacular MiG-21 solo displays. Therefore I walked some minutes under the hot Romanian sun to find a better vantage point on Sunday morning. The effort was quite worth it though I did not see a lot of the solo displays but got some nice photos of the formations. Solo displays in the morning were also performed by two IAR99.
MiG-21 Lancer Flight Display
IAR 99 Solo Display
The afternoon started with the Serbian block and the presentation of a Galeb-2A, a Super Galeb 4 and the Orao. Solo jet displays consisted of the JAS 39 Gripen, Mirage 2000, Dutch F-16, Austrian PC-7, C-27J, the Czech Tiger Mi-24 Hind and as a newcomer to the European airshow circuit, a Spanish F/A-18 Hornet. Really appreciated during the afternoon were of course the display teams, including the Swiss PC-7 Team, the Turkish Stars and the Frecce Tricolori. At the end of the show and in a nice evening light 60 paratroopers jumped out of two An-26 and the Police flew a EC135 and a Mi-8 during its demonstration.
Croatian "Wings of Storm"
Swiss PC-7 Team
Spanish EF-18A Hornet Display
You might already have noticed that the flying has not been very eastern aircraft weighted therefore I have been a bit disappointed. Even with the neighbours as Bulgaria or the Ukraine there was no participation of these countries, and the announced Macedonian Mi-24 did not show up as well. However there was a Hungarian MiG-29UB in the static display and some Antonovs as well. Besides the Romanians showing two MiG-21 Lancers and their helicopters the usual Western visitors were present.
So one may pose the, unfortunately reasonable, question where you still have to travel to some (exotic) ex Soviet
fighters? There are no many places left in the meantime...
Czech Mi-24 "Tiger"
Serbian Orao & Super Galeb
Dutch F-16 "Teamwork"
However this has been the second big event organized in Romania after the show in 2001 and it has been very good accepted by the Romanian people. A lot of cheers accompanied especially the foreign display team presentations and also the pilots in the static display were pleased by the interested public, and the beautiful Romanian girls ;)
Of course I was pleased as well enjoying these views and some very tasty barbecued "Micis". Therefore I am quite sure that RoIAS put a solid basis for other aeronautic events in this aeronautically rich country in the future.
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