Aurel Vlaicu was born in Bintinti (now Aurel Vlaicu), near Orastie, Transylvania, which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. He attended Calvinist High School in Orastie (renamed "Liceul Aurel Vlaicu" in his honour in 1919) and took his Baccalaureate in Sibiu in 1902. He furthered his studies at Technical University of Budapest and Technische Hochschule München in Germany, earning his engineer's diploma in 1907.
After working at Opel car factory in Rüsselsheim, he returned to Bintinti and built a glider he flew in the summer of 1909. Later that year, he moved to Bucharest, in the Kingdom of Romania, where he began the construction of Vlaicu I airplane; it flew for the first time on June 17, 1910.
With his Vlaicu II model, built in 1911, Aurel Vlaicu won several prizes summing 7,500 Austro-Hungarian krone (for precise landing, projectile throwing and tight flying around a pole) in 1912 at Aspern Air Show near Vienna, where he competed against 42 other aviators of the day, including Roland Garros.
Aurel Vlaicu died in 1913 near Câmpina while attempting to cross in flight the Carpathian Mountains in his aged Vlaicu II airplane. He is buried at the Bellu cemetery, in Bucharest.
During his short career he built three original, arrow-shaped airplanes, with flight controls in front, two coaxial propellers, NACA-like ring around the engine, and independent suspension-tricycle-landing-gear with brakes. At the time of his death, a two-seated monoplane Vlaicu III, ordered by Marconi Company for experiments with aerial wireless radio, was only partially built. After Vlaicu's death the plane was completed by friends, and several short experimental flights were made during 1914. Further tests were hindered by the unusual controls of the airplane, no other pilot was familiar with.
In 1916, during the German occupation of Bucharest, Vlaicu III was seized and shipped to Germany. The airplane was last seen in a 1942 aviation exhibition in Berlin
On September 13th 1913, during an attempt to fly over the Carpathian mountains in his airplane VLAICU II, Aurel Vlaicu crashed near Câmpina, apparently due to a heart attack. He is interred in Bellu cemetery in Bucharest.
This monument was built in 1982 and improved in 2013. Next to the monument used to be a real airplane, an Ilyushin model IL-18, but degradation and vandalism led to it being removed. Efforts to place another airplane have yet to bear fruit.
The cache is near the monument dedicated to Aurel Vlaicu and his tragic flight.
pbeare, cbfg, pnc
corner, post, cap