First Romanian pilots fly F-16 solo

Captain-Commanders Andrei Constantin and Cătălin Micloş became the first Romanian Air Force pilots to fly solo on the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon on 26 November 2014.

The seasoned fighter jocks made their flights from 5 Air Base in Monte Real. At this Portuguese Air Force (FAP) base Romanian crews are preparing for the official hand-over of a dozen Vipers from the FAP, including three jets flown in from US stock since the Força Aérea Portuguesa only had 9 aircraft available.

The two Romanian officers are from 71st Air Base in Turzii and have both more than 15 years of flight experience, each accumulating over 1,100 flight hours, of which about 900 on the MiG-21 Lancer. Both flew Baltic Air Policing missions in 2007.

A Romanian Air Force MiG-21 in mid-air (Image © 2013 Forţele Aeriene Române)
A Romanian Air Force MiG-21 in mid-air (Image © 2013 Forţele Aeriene Române)

The detachment of the Romanian Air Force at Monte Real is 23 people strong and also includes engineers and technical specialists in planning. The program is scheduled to take place in several series, over a period of about two years, and includes the preparation of 80 soldiers, including nine pilots to fly the F-16s. The remainder of the training will be done in Romania, with three of the 12 F-16s – designed in the 1970s by General Dynamics – acting as reserves.

Source: Forţele Aeriene Române

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Strike a pose! Portugal operates a few dozen F-16s, of which 15108 was delivered in the mid-nineties. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Strike a pose! Portugal operates a few dozen F-16s, of which 15108 was delivered in the mid-nineties. Nine surplus machines plus three ex-USAF machines will be transferred to Romania (Image © Dennis Spronk)