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Karo-Aviation visit Bucharest BIAS 2019.
Article and pictures by Ronald de Roij

The Bucharest International Air Show (BIAS 2019) is the largest air show in Romania and took place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, at Bucharest Baneasa Airport. With the start of the flying display at 9 AM and the last flying well after dark, it’s a great event for a free air show.

The Romanian Air Force, operates 12 F-16 Block 15 Mid-Life Upgrade fighters
 nine single-seat F-16AMs and three twin-seat F-16BMs.


Besides Bucharest Airports, the Romanian Air Force and aircraft maintenance company Romaero, the Romanian Aeroclub is one of the main organizers of the event and participated strongly with aerobatics, parachutists jumping out of Blue Wings Antonov An-2 and the White Wings sailplane duo.

A member of the Aeroclub, Jurgis Kairys flew his Su-31 and gave multiple displays including a performance after dark with pyrotechnics on ground and in the air.

Another interesting display was given by Valer Novac, flying in the Kamov Ka-26 utility helicopter. A helicopter that is not often seen in the display program of an air show.

But when the ‘helicopter daddy’ of Romania takes to the skies in his Kamov crop dusting helicopter, he shows the agility of this utility platform, also showing manoeuvres that are used in the daily work..

One of the much awaited moments are the releasing of flares during the evening air show.
Before the show ends with fireworks and a free concert

The air show itself had a small static display with most of the aircraft types of the Forțele Aeriene Române or Romanian Air Force on display. Foreign participants consisted of two Portuguese F-16's, A NATO E-3 Awacs , a Hungarian JAS-39 Gripen and a US Army Blackhawk. Several civilian aircraft, such as a pre-delivery ATR-72 and a VIP configured ROMBAC 1-11. The latter is a former Mali government VIP aircraft (TZ-BSC), restored to perfection by ROMAERO and available for dinners, parties, commercials and other events. ROMAERO is a renowned maintenance company who in the past license manufactured BAC 1-11’s and assembled and upgraded the IAR330 SOCAT and Alouette III.

Like many other foreign visitors to the show, we came to see the legendary MiG-21 LanceR and other aircraft of the Romanian Air Force. And the Romanian Air Force delivered, with multiple formations of different types, including the MiG-21 LanceR, F-16 Falcon, IAR 99, IAR 330 and C-27J.

Other interesting displays came from a An-30 in Open Skies configuration, who showed its camera set-up on the Friday (practice day) and a C-27J giving a fierce tactical display.

Recorded by Romanian aircraft enthousiasts as the first time a public demo was given by F-16AM Fighting Falcons, in an aerial interception demonstration and two F-16’s doing tactical flying low over the field.

Other displays included a tactical display of the IAR-330 (local built and adapted Puma helicopters) in different configurations, a duo of IAR-316 Alouette III helicopters and a three-ship formation of Romanian Air Force Yak-52.

Yes they delivered in style and we enjoyed the day..

Between 1995–2002, a total of 111 MiG-21s were modernized, of which today, around 36 Lancers are operational with the Romanian Air Force


Between 1995–2002, a total of 111 MiG-21s were modernized, of which today, around 36 LanceRs are operational with the Romanian Air Force

In 1962, the Romanian Air Force received its first 12 MiG-21F-13 fighters, followed by another 12 of the same variant in 1963. Deliveries continued over the next years with many other variants for a total number of 322 aircraft. Romania is one of the few nations in Europe still operating the MiG-21.

In 1993 – after the collapse of the Soviet Union – Russia did not offer spare parts anymore for the ROU AF MiG-23 and MiG-29. This was the main reason for the Romanian Air Force to modernize its MiG-21s together with Elbit Systems. This also led to an easier way to maintain these fighter jets, which had being given the LanceR designation.

In 1995–2002, a total of 111 MiG-21s were modernized, of which 71 were M and MF/MF-75 variants modernized under the LanceR-A designation (ground attack), 14 were UM variant as LanceR-B designation (trainer), and another 26 MF/MF-75 variant were modernized under LanceR-C designation (air superiority).

The Romanian MiG-21 LanceR C can use both western and eastern armament such as the R-60M, R-73, Magic 2, or Python III missiles. Even today the QRA duties in Romanian airspace are controlled by LanceR C’s on QRA. Given the vast size of the country, Baza 71 at Campia Turzi provides western cover, while Basa 86 at Borcea-Fetesi provides coverage for the eastern part, including the Black Sea approaches.
With the Elbit radar, electronic cockpit displays and sensors, it is also possible to use helmet mounted targeting (Display And Sight Helmet – DASH), both in the MiG-21 as well as in the IAR 330 with gun pods. This gives the Romanian Air Force modern day capabilities on a legacy platform.




 A stunning display of the MiG-21 LanceR-C was given by Lt.Col. Gheorghe “Gica” Stancu of Baza 86 (Borcea-Fetesti),showing that it is possible to make tight turns with a MiG-21.

The Bucharest International Air Show gives you more than one chance to see your favourite display as most participants flew twice that day, and this was not only valid for the civil presentations, but also for the fast jets and military display teams. Certain aerial demonstrations of the Romanian Air Force were even shown three times, including mixed aircraft formations.

We hope to see the participation of the legendary MiG-21 LanceR in future editions of Bucharest International Air Show!



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