A Vlaicu III

The A Vlaicu III was the world's first metal-built aircraft [1], designed and built in Romania prior to World War I. It was the third powered aircraft designed by pioneering Romanian aviator Aurel Vlaicu.

A Vlaicu III
A Vlaicu III 03
Role Monoplane
Designer Aurel Vlaicu
First flight 1914
Number built 1
Developed from A Vlaicu II

Design and development

Engineer and inventor Aurel Vlaicu, who was among the first pilots in Romania, began the design of the third in his series of powered aircraft in the second half of 1911. The design was based on his earlier A Vlaicu II. A nacelle underneath a parasol wing housed the pilot and a Gnome Gamma engine. Gears, chains and shafts drove two propellers, one in front of and one behind the wing; these turned in opposite directions to cancel each other's torque. Like Vlaicu's other designs, the A. Vlaicu III did not have ailerons. The pilot turned the aircraft by using the rudder, controlled by moving a tiller left or right; to control the elevators and make the aircraft go up and down, a steering wheel attached to the tiller was turned left or right.

It was the world's first metal-built aircraft.[2]

At the time of Vlaicu's death in the crash of the A Vlaicu II in 1913, two A. Vlaicu IIIs were under construction for delivery to the Marconi Company. The British company was supposed to receive one for performance evaluation and experimentation with aerial radio, the other was supposed to remain in Romania. After Vlaicu's death, one of the two aircraft was completed by his friends Giovanni Magnani and Constantin Silisteanu; and was ready to fly in May 1914.

Operational history

Two test 'hops' covering a ground distance of 200–300 metres (220-330 yards) at a maximum altitude of about 2 metres (6.6 ft) were made in 1914 by pilot Petre Macavei at Cotroceni airfield. Military authorities of the time refused permission to continue the tests. At a later date, pilots Mircea Zorileanu and Gheorghe Negrescu obtained permission from the Romanian Minister of War to modify the controls of the aircraft and continue the experiments, but it never flew again.

In 1916, during the German occupation of Bucharest, an A Vlaicu III was seized and shipped to Germany. It was last seen in 1942 at an aviation exhibition in Berlin by Romanian military officers. However, no mention of it is made in records of the Berlin exhibition.[3][4]

A Vlaicu III 02
A Vlaicu III 01


Aurel Vlaicu3 Silhouettes

Data from [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 10.75 m (35 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 3.1 m (10 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 24 m2 (260 sq ft)
  • Gross weight: 575 kg (1,268 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome Gamma air-cooled rotary piston engine, 52 kW (70 hp)
  • Propellers: (2 coaxial, counter-rotating) 2-bladed, 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in) diameter


See also


  1. ^ Jozef Wilczynski, Technology in Comecon: Acceleration of Technological Progress Through Economic Planning and the Market, p. 243
  2. ^ Jozef Wilczynski, Technology in Comecon: Acceleration of Technological Progress Through Economic Planning and the Market, p. 243
  3. ^ Hundertmark & Steinle (1985), pp.110-114
  4. ^ Gheorghiu, Constantin C. (1960). Aurel Vlaicu, un precursor al aviaţiei româneşti. Bucharest: Editura Tehnică.
  5. ^ Gugju, Ion; Gheorghe Iacobescu; Ovidiu Ionescu. Romanian Aeronautical Constructions 1905 - 1974. Brasov.
  • Hundertmark, Michael; Steinle, Holger (1985). Phoenix aus der Asche - Die Deutsche Luftfahrt Sammlung Berlin. Berlin: Silberstreif Verlag. ISBN 978-3924091026.
A Vlaicu I

The A Vlaicu I was the first powered airplane built by Aurel Vlaicu.

A Vlaicu II

The A Vlaicu II was the second powered airplane designed and built by Aurel Vlaicu.

Arms industry in Romania

Before 1989, Romania was among the top ten arms exporters in the world, however its arms industry declined considerably during the 1990s. Exports fell from roughly $1 billion before 1989 to about $43 million in 2006, and the number of employees also fell from 220,000 in 1990 to 20,000 in 2009. Sales to the Romanian Armed Forces have plunged after Romania's accession to NATO in 2004, as factories continue to produce Warsaw Pact-caliber weapons and ammunition, which are incompatible with their Western counterparts. There have also been criticisms related to the quality of Romania's military products, due to the obsolescence of factory equipment and production methods. The Cugir weapons plant, for example, still uses some machinery dated from 1890.As of 2009, sales are roughly evenly divided between the Romanian state and foreign customers such as European Union and Arab countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Iraq. Other countries which have shown interest in Romanian equipment include Afghanistan, Israel, Switzerland, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, India, Georgia and a slew of African countries. There have been some signs of slight recovery, with exports reaching €141 million in 2009. However, the arms industry in Romania still lags behind neighboring countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and Serbia.In recent years, the Romanian government has called, unsuccessfully, for the lifting of the European Union arms embargo on the People's Republic of China.

Aurel Vlaicu

Aurel Vlaicu (Romanian pronunciation: [a.uˈrel ˈvlajku] (listen); November 19, 1882 – September 13, 1913) was a Romanian engineer, inventor, airplane constructor and early pilot.

Culture of Romania

The culture of Romania is the product of its geography and its distinct historical evolution. It is theorized and speculated that Romanians and the Vlachs (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians) are the combination of descendants of Roman colonists and people indigenous to the region who were Romanized.

The Dacian people, one of the major indigenous peoples of southeast Europe are one of the predecessors of the Proto-Romanians. It is believed that a mixture of Dacians, Romans, and Illyrians are the predecessors of the modern Romanians, Aromanians (Vlachs), Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians. Modern Romanian culture visibly reflects a tremendous amount of both Balkan and Eastern European influences. In addition, Romanian culture shares several similarities with other ancient cultures such as that of the Armenians.

List of World War I Entente aircraft

This is a list of World War I Entente aircraft organized by country of origin. Dates are of first flight.

List of aircraft (V)

This is a list of aircraft in alphabetical order beginning with 'V'.

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