Aurel Vlaicu Flight School - Boboc
The second day of the Romanian Air Force Tour saw us situated a couple of hours North West of Mihail Kogalniceanu at the Aurel Vlaicu Flight School located at Boboc Air Base. Boboc sits within the Muntenia Region of Romania but specifically in the county of Buzau. The Flight School was formed in 1997 at Boboc which is home to all the initial flight training for future fixed wing and helicopter pilots.
Upon arriving at the main gate, we were met by Captain Adriana Alecu and Warrant Officer Iacob, who both were very welcoming whilst processing us through security. Once we were checked in, Captain Alecu escorted us as we walked out towards the aircraft ramps. Whilst walking, she began informing us of the roles the Flight School is responsible for and the route many perspective pilots would take on their journey through flight training. She explained that Boboc houses three branches of training for the Air Force which compromise of Radar Operation, Air Defence (Surface-To-Air Missiles) and finally of course the pilot training. In addition to these branches, a technical school is also located at Boboc which is responsible for training and educating maintenance personnel for the various aircraft types or equipment in the Romanian inventory.
As Captain Alecu walked us to the active ramps, we briefly stopped at a small storage area which housed a number of decommissioned aircraft once used for the same training purposes. Present were Aero L-29 Delfin’s, Aero L-39ZA Albatross’s and a couple of IAR-99 Soim’s. Following a quick look around these airframes, we were guided to a row of Antonov AN-2’s, which currently remain stored following the withdrawal of their active service during 2010 as a result of a fatal accident. The Antonov were used for training pilots who would go onto flying the larger cargo aircraft such as C-27J Spartan’s and AN-32’s. The next line of aircraft we were shown were Yakovlev IAK-52’s, the aircraft which pilots would begin their flight training with. We were then shown the helicopter training element at Boboc where pilots would begin their training flying the IAR-316B (A licensed built Alouette III). Lastly, Captain Alecu walked us over to the next stage the pilots would take during fixed wing training, which is where they progress from the IAK-52 and onto the IAR-99. Once the students have completed their training courses, they will progress to helicopter squadrons at other bases or move to advanced fixed wing training at the 95th Baza Bacău.
The Aurel Vlaicu Flight School is home to a number of units which are responsible for a vast amount of different roles. The airborne element is however split into two Squadrons and further units as follows
The last element we were shown on the base tour was within the building complex at Boboc, including a demonstration of the flight simulator allowing a couple of guests to take their hand at the controls of an IAR-99. Then the very friendly Colonel Rapiteanu guided around his immaculate Museum, explaining the history of the Romanian Air Force throughout the centuries and also the significance of why the base was named after the famed Aurel Vlaicu – a pilot, designer and pioneer at a time when aviation was still in its early years.
Before concluding the tour, we were invited to the Officer’s Mess for a fantastic lunch provided by the catering team. Aviation in Action would again like to extend our thanks to the Romanian Air Force for allowing us the opportunity of this visit, the access and hospitality was once again truly outstanding. We would further like to thank the following:
Credits: Article and photography by Darren Willmin, additional imagery by Aaron Paxton