The home of Romanian aviation pioneer Aurel Vlaicu

A lesser known site but nonetheless interesting is the national museum dedicated to Romanian engineer and aviation pioneer Aurel Vlaicu. The museum can be found at the border between the Hunedoara and Alba counties, in the village carrying the pilot’s name.

The collection of the museum is telling of the aviator and inventor activity that Aurel Vlaicu undertook. Having served in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and on an engineer’s position with the Opel car factory in Rüsselsheim, Vlaicu first built, together with his brother, a glider which he flew in the summer of 1909. He then moved to Romania and obtained financing from the Romanian Ministry of War and the Minister of Public Education to build his first powered airplane. He flew it for the first time in 1910 over the Cotroceni airfield. In 1911 he built his second model, with which he competed in the International Flight Week in Aspern-Vienna. He was awarded in this competition for precision landing, projectile throwing and tight flying around a pole. The third model, unfinished at the time of his death, was built on a contract for the Marconi Company for experiments with aerial radio.

Documents, drafts and graphs related to this activity as well as personal items are all part of the collection of the museum.  Visitors can see here the bicycles the inventor equipped with various engines, his toolkit, and also the project designs of his personal inventions. All in all, a museum worth the visit for those interested in aviation, engineering or local history.

How to get there:

A five-hour drive by car from Bucharest, taking the E81 as shown here.