On Saturday, thousands of people attended the biggest air show in Romania and admired the feats of aerial masters. Nevertheless, those whose nerves were strained to the maximum because of congested traffic and the long lines of people queuing to take their pictures in a fighter jet’s cockpit were not few in number.
Saturday, Baneasa, 10 a.m. The humming of engines can be heard, not very loudly, in this quiet and select neighbourhood in northern Bucharest. People of all ages, families with children, dogs, bicycles, strollers and tents are coming from all directions and are heading, as fast they can, toward Romaero Baneasa. They navigate between parked cars, vehicles drive past, almost grazing them, and at pedestrian crossings people fill up the sidewalks. In the cars, drivers constantly look to their left and right, hoping to be lucky enough to find a parking spot, while their tension and nervousness grow as it becomes clear they have no chance to park their cars close to the entrance.
In the sky, the aircraft start leaving trails of white smoke, the pilots start the show, and thousands of mesmerised people watch their manoeuvres. Thousands of curious people and aviation buffs have come at the Baneasa airport in order to watch the biggest air show in Romania. Some came with portable beds, other with recliners and umbrellas, while others brought their tents.
Of course, children were the most thrilled.
“I came to see the airplanes flying and tumbling. So far, I’ve only seen them on television and in games. I would like to fly like this too, but I’m scared. I’m scared of crashing. When I grow up I’ll be an aviator policeman. I’ll be a policeman and I’ll fly those large airplanes and protect people,” Darius, an 8-year-old boy, stated for Mediafax.
“Mommy brought me here. These airplanes look very big and very noisy. I wouldn’t like to fly in them, because they’re going too fast. I’d like a convertible airplane that wouldn’t be noisy and that I could fly very close to the ground. The pilots look very strong and beautiful, like in the movies. I like how they turn around in the air. I don’t believe it’s that difficult, you go up, you go down, you turn around and that’s it,” said Ana, a 7-year-old girl who did not seem very impressed with the pilots’ spectacular performance even though she was admiring it.
“I’ve been to air shows before, I like it a lot. I want to learn as much as possible from them, and when I grow up I want to pilot such planes too,” 11-year-old Miriam said.
Daniela Stoica, Miriam’s mother, said that every time she has some free time on her hands Miriam searches the internet for information on airplanes, aviation, watches aerobatics videoclips and constantly talks about her passion for it. Thus, Miriam managed to instil the passion for flight in all family members and friends and that is why they organised a small family get-together at BIAS 2017, inviting her cousins from Italy and several relatives from her father’s side of the family. The 16 family members brought beds, which they placed on the Baneasa airport’s airstrip, umbrellas, packed food and beverages in portable refrigerating boxes.
Many others did the same, stating it has become a kind of tradition for them to come with their friends at Banseasa Airport during the Bucharest International Air Show, to sit on beds and pillows and watch the air show all day long.
Since the sun was very powerful, some of the spectators came down with sunstroke and needed medical assistance. Several first-aid points were organised on the airport’s airstrip, in order to help those affected by the heatwave. Fortunately, most people heeded the medical advices and wore caps, hats or umbrellas protecting them from the sun.
However, many spectators were dissatisfied with the long queues formed in order to visit the military aircraft displayed at ground level. For instance, in order to climb in the cockpit of a U.S. Air Force supersonic fighter jet and take pictures with the pilots, parents said they had to wait up to an hour.
“I know it’s not their fault, but I don’t think it’s normal for a child to stand in the sun so long for a picture. There are three airplanes here, but the cockpit of only one is accessible. I don’t think it would have been such a great effort to allow us to climb in the others too, so then this line wouldn’t have formed,” one of the mothers who waited in line with her little boy said.
Drivers were also dissatisfied. Firstly, it was almost impossible for anyone to find a parking spot close to Romaero Baneasa after 10 a.m., when the air show started. Even the small streets around the apartment buildings were full, so many people had to leave their cars as far as two kilometres away and walk that distance.
“For almost 40 minutes I tried to find a parking spot. They were all simply occupied. I eventually left the car near Herastrau Park and walked for some 20 minutes. That’s that, typically Romanian, you organise a grandiose event, knowing tens of thousands of people will show up, but you don’t think they’ll come by car and will have nowhere to park. For instance, they could have set up a large parking lot here, inside Romaero, because there’s plenty of space,” Alexandru Martin stated for Mediafax.
Another problem was faced by drivers on National Road 1 (DN1), because many curious people slowed down and even pulled over in order to watch the aerobatics. This caused a traffic jam and the line of cars stretched all the way to the Arch of Triumph, on the outbound lane.
Flight daredevils put on helicopter, fighter jet, historic plane stunts in eye-catching air show
Romania’s highest-profile air show – the Bucharest International Air Show (BIAS)on Saturday delighted aviation lovers with a brisk display of aerobatics that combined helicopter stunts with formation flying and air taskforce actions.
The ninth edition of the air event took place at the ‘Aurel Vlaicu’ International Airport of Bucharest to a large audience, with young and old, grandparents and children reveling in the dramatic show staged by over 200 pilots and paratroopers.
“Today’s aviation rally is the largest ever organized in Romania. Over the course of the day we will see over 100 pilots, more than 100 planes, skydivers, fighter jets but also transport planes, because TAROM airline also participates in this edition. In addition, just as every year, we made efforts to offer the public never seen before elements, so that this year we have military participation from ten countries, five historic aircraft and, in a first, acrobatics with a helicopter piloted by dab hand Valer Novac,” Valentin Iordache, director of the External Relations Department of the National Company Bucharest Airports, told Agerpres on Saturday morning, prior to the start of the airshow.
Calin Stefan Pop, Commander of the Campia Turzii 71st Air Base, told Agerpres that the Air Force prepared two special acts for the show with MiG 21 LanceRs simulating an air policing situation plus a solo performance.
As BIAS 2017 was dedicated to the entering of the F-16 Fighting Falcons into the service of the Romanian Air Force, the fighter jets were also in the spotlight, dashing boldly through the skies.
In a first, Poland’s Air Force had a MiG 29 Fulcrum and F-16 airshow act, while Hungary’s Air Force showed off their Saab Jas 39 Gripen, and the US participated with an F-15 Eagle.
In addition, a General Aviation Exhibition was organized, where aircraft manufacturers and owners as well as providers of general aviation services put on display a wide range of civil aircraft from ultra-light to business jets.
The Bucharest International Air Show & General Aviation Exhibition was organized by the National Bucharest Airports Company, the Romanian Airclub, the Romanian Air Force, ROMATSA, ROMAERO and the AIBO Sports Club under the aegis of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Economy.