Baza 71 Aeriana – named after “General Emanoil Ionescu”, who was Commander of the Romanian Air Corps between 1943-1945 – is the airbase of the Forţele Aeriene Române in the beautifull Transylvania. The base hosts two unit, the Escadrila 711 Aviatie Lupta flying the MiG-21 Lancer-C and MiG-21 Lancer-B, and the Escadrila 713 Elicoptere equiped with the IAR-330M and IAR-330SOCAT. The base for several years now organize an open day/airshow for everyone who is interested. After several years of unsuccessful participation, in 2017 we finally made it to Campia Turzii.
Baza 71 Aeriana’s insignia comes from the Historical coat of arms of Transylvania, the seven fortress symbolises the seven fortified cities of the Transylvanian, Siebenbürgen (“Seven Fortresses”):
The gates opend around 8:00 in the morning, people were already started to flow in, there were several stuff on the static line as well from the Forțele Terestre Române (Romanian Land Forces), like the 9K33 Osa mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system, the Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard which is an all-weather-capable German amde self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. The later one was acquired around 2004 and a unit is stationed in the nearby Turda, also the Gepard was part of the, lets say Joint Power Demo as well. Also worht mention that the 125th Fighter Wing from the Florida Air National Guard, stationed at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida was at the base for the Dacian Eagle excersise, and to the greatest pleasure of the people, the organisers always plan the open day during the Dacian Eagle.
One F-15 from the 125th Fighter Wing taking off:
Thw whole program started at 10:00 am, one IAR-330 carrying the Romanian National flag, after that two MiG-21 LanceR C and two F-15 took off, the americans always showed the skills of their jet, the pilots did the “typical” take off maneuver of the jet, and also making high left turns after a low pass as well, after that a C-130 from the Baza 90 Aviatie de Transport, started it’s program. While the C-130 is an agile plane, depsite it’s size, the pilot did not do any drastic maneuvers, but taking advantage of the Hercules volume, it still looked fantastic, if one was clever enough he/she tried to put together on a photo the plane and the Turda Gorge, which can be seen very clearly from the base.
I have to praise the organisers for the reason that every MiG-21 passed in front of the crowd only a few meters away! Another type of the Romanian Air Force, the IAR 99 Șoim was present also, the standard fast jet trainer of the country amde locally, and whats most important, some of them were also upgraded too, like the LanceR, done by the Israel-based Elbit Systems. Nine IAR 99 took of for a formation flight, but before that, a LanceR B (MiG-21UM) did it’s solo flight, altough not understanding the romanian language, some high ranking officer was preent in the cockpit. One C-27J Spartan landed at the base, no demo from this type in the Romanian Air Force, but sure it was a nice addition. The IAR 99 jets did several passes and one of the did solo program too, worht mention again that the geographic conditions – the base is surrounded with several hills and mountains – gives very great oportunities to make lovely photos of the planes during landing and low passes, seeing the beauty of Transylvania in the background during photo editing.
Two IAR 99 Șoim in close formation doing a flypast:
Another nine IAR-330 took off for their program later on, and when the last one left the helipad, two F-16’s from Baza 86 Aeriana near Fetesti roard the skies. The NATO country bought 12 used F-16’s from Portugal in 2014, before that, all of them went through an overhaul, 9 jet already arrived 3 more will follow them shortly. Baza 71 Aeriana will also receive the Falcon very soon, rumors says that the first F-16 should land at the end of the year 2019, no info at the moment where the planes will come from, but the US, Israel and Greece is selling some of it’s older types. Thanks for the humid air, all sharp turns of the F-16’s were spectacular. The planes did not landed at Campia Turzii. After the Falcon’s program, two F-15 and several MiG-21 departed from the runway, movements started on land too, the operators of the S-60 single-barrel anti-aircraft gun took their positions, the Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepards raised their guns and started to operate the radar, something will happen we knew that.
The Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepards firing blanks during the Power Demo:
The IAR-330 helicopters in a formation flew over the base, one did some solo flight, a few minutes later the MiG’s flew in as well, and the Power Demo started! A convoy came under attack, which was coverd by the Gepards, the anti-aircraft guns shoot many blanks, even the S-60, some pyrotechnic explosions happend too, imitating bombs from the MiG’s, while in the air the pilots used flares many times. The SOCAT helicopters were used for ground attacks and droping special unit soldiers, which helped the convoy to succesfully attack the S-60 guns. After the succesfull program, all types of planes and helicopters did another pass than landed, all helicopters and MiG’s landed in fron of the crowd, again only meters away! Here the audience were able see the only female fast jet pilot of the Air Force at the moment, she is Lieutenant Romina Mîrza, who did her first solo flight a couple of months ago, but she was not the only female pilot, several other proud lady flew the IAR 99 and the IAR 330, all of the pilots then stood in line while the crowd cheerd. After everything was cleared the organisers let the people around the jets.
Lieutenant Romina Mîrza receiving an ovation from the crowd:
There were chances to see the static line, to see all the weaponry the LanceR and the SOCAT is capable to carry. People who were interested were able to buy souvenirs from the base and the americans as well.
All together it was a very fine open day, to count everything, we can say that almost 30 aircrafts were present in the air that day! Considering that this comes almost from one Air Force for a half a day airshow, thats very impressive. To conclude my review, I can say…See You Next Year! Ne vedem anul viitor!