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    Romania

    History of Flight from Around the World

    Romania

    The history of aviation in Romania began very early, with the work of Conrad Hass (1551-1579), an artillery engineer and chief of arsenal of the town of Sibiu. Hass wrote about the construction and the flight tests of multistage rockets, apparently the earliest writings in existence about the science of rocket engineering.

    One of the first suggestions for equipping a dirigible with a jet engine dates back as far as 1886, when Romanian inventor Alexandro Ciurcu (1884-1922), together with Frenchman Just Buisson, suggested that an aerostat built and exhibited with an electric engine at the Paris Exhibition of Electricity in 1881 be provided instead with their jet cylinder. Ciurcu built and tested their original first jet engine on a small ship running on the Seine River in Paris in 1886 and on a rail car in 1888.

    In February 1903, the work of Traian Vuia (1872-1950), "Projet d'Aeroplane-automobile," was published. On this original aircraft, designed and built by Vuia and containing only the third aircraft engine made to that date, Vuia performed the first flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft in the history of aviation. It took off at Montesson, near Paris, on 18 March 1906, flying by the power of its engine with no auxiliary equipment.

    Henri Coanda (1886-1972) constructed the first jet aircraft in the world, named the Coanda-1910, in 1910. The aircraft was exhibited at the International Aeronautical Show (Paris, 1910) and Coanda tested the engine near Paris. He performed the first reactive flight, but it ended in an accident: the aircraft side-slipped, fell, and burned. Coanda also was the constructor of the first twin-engine aircraft in the history of aeronautics (1911). He used two Gnome engines with seven rotating cylinders each, connected on the same shaft and driving a single four-blade airscrew.

    Rodrig Golieseu built and flew his "Avioplan" in 1909. It was the first airplane to have a full cylindrical fuselage. Between 1932 and 1936 he flight tested his "Aviocoleopter," the first aircraft to have a toroidal wing.

    Between 1918 and 1923, Vuia built and tested near Paris two helicopters, with mechanical drive from the engine to the lifting rotor (in the case of the second aircraft), practically proving that the rotating wing can ensure lift and propulsion. In 1920 his helicopter was patented in France and England.

    In 1923 Hermann Oberth (1894-1989) published a study, "The Rocket in the Interplanetary Space," in which he put forward the theoretic basis of the operating possibility of the liquid-fueled rocket (later tested in a laboratory). Most of Oberth's work was done in the Romanian cities of Sighisoara and Medias between 1924 and 1938. Romanian aerospace history got a boost in 1981, when astronaut Dorin Prunariu made a space-flight on board the Soyuz T4- Saliut 6- Soyuz 40 orbital complex.

    Originally provided to AIAA for its Evolution of Flight Campaign, 2003.


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