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50 bani 2010 - Centennial Anniversary of the First Flight of Aurel Vlaicu's Plane
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50 bani 2010 - Centennial Anniversary of the First Flight of Aurel Vlaicu's Plane - obverse 50 bani 2010 - Centennial Anniversary of the First Flight of Aurel Vlaicu's Plane - reverse
23.75 mm diameter, 6.1 g, brass with 80% copper, 15% zinc, 5% nickel, flat edge, with inscription ROMANIA (two times)
Obverse: year 2010, face value "50 BANI", coat of arms of Romania, ROMANIA, horizontal lines with the face value 50 with large digits
Reverse: vertical lines, inscription AUREL VLAICU and year 1910 (of the first flight with VLAICU I airplane) above, effigy of Aurel Vlaicu, an image of his airplane, 1882 and 1913, years of inventor's life

Issuing date: 25th of October 2010

Mintage: 5000 coins in proof quality

This coin was also issued as regular business strike quality.

About Aurel Vlaicu (1882-1913)

Engineer and inventor, Aurel Vlaicu was born in November 1882 at Binținți, village on Mureș River, at that time in Austria-Hungary, nowadays in Romania, in Hunedoara county. Of course, the nowadays name of the village is Aurel Vlaicu (from 1925). He studied at the Polytechnic School of Budapest and at the Technische Hochschule in Munchen, and he worked in Germany at Opel from some time.

In year 1909 he built a glider, and he tested it in his natal village.

He moved in Romania and, with the support of Spiru Haret, in year 1910 he built at the Arsenal of the Romanian Army in Bucharest an airplane baptized logically Aurel Vlaicu no. I. Airplane no. II was built at the Superior School of Arts and Crafts in Bucharest. Vlaicu II was finished in February 1911. Aurel made with his planes numerous demonstrative flights in several Romanian cities.

At Iași the first aviation demonstration took place on October 1911, at the celebration of restoring the old buildings of Cetățuia Monastery (founded by Duca Vodă). Above the monastery flew Aurel Vlaicu and his airplane. King Carol I and the royal family also participated at these celebration.

In year 1912 Aurel Vlaicu received the "Gheorghe Lazăr" prize, premium granted by the Romanian Academy, for his book "Aeroplanul Vlaicu" (Vlaicu Airplane). Also in 1912, in June, Vlaicu participated with his airplane no. II at the international aviation competition that took place at Aspern Airfield, nearby Vienna. Vlaicu was the 38th competitor from a total of 43, from 8 different countries - one of them being the world famous pilot Roland Gaross. The competition had numerous events, but Vlaicu participated at the precision competitions only: precision landing, tight flying around a pole, projectile throwing from 300 meters high. He was placed second at the first two and he won the third event. He won a total prize of 7500 Austro-Hungarian krones.

After his victory at Aspern Vlaicu the Ministry of War granted him 27.000 lei for building a new airplane, Vlaicu no. III.

On 13th of September 1913 Aurel Vlaicu tried to cross over the Carpathian Mountains with his old no. II airplane in a long voyage, Bucharest-Brașov-Orăștie. In the Prahova Valley, near Cîmpina, Vlaicu crashed. He was honored with state funerals, and he posthumously received the Military Virtue decoration. In year 1948, during the Communist regime, Vlaicu was posthumously elected member of the Romanian Academy.

About Vlaicu I airplane

The airplane had an air-cooled 7-cylinder radial rotary Gnome Omega engine, delivering 50 horsepower at 1200 revolutions per minute.

The plane wing had no stiffners, being considered the first wing with variable profile. Vlaicu airplanes were fitted with two coaxial conter-rotating propellers, placed in front and in the back of the wing. The propeller's blades were designed by Vlaicu himself, having been made from metal and fixed on tails made of ash-tree wood. The controls of the aircraft were placed on a steering wheel, and the wheels of the landing gear (two in front and one in the back) were independent.

Vlaicu I was the first airplane, built in Romania by a Romanian engineer, that manoeuvered well and was capable of long voyages in the same time. Vuia and Coandă flew before 1910, but their flights were merely long leaps, their airplanes being a kind of demonstrative / functional models.

Vuia 1906, Coandă 1910 and IAR CV-11 (Carafoli) airplanes appear on the 50 lei silver coins from 2001 dedicated to the Romanian aviation pioneers.

The coin pictures above are present on the site through the permission of an anonymous donor. These pictures, like all other pictures displayed on Romanian coins / Monede românești, cannot be used in any circumstances to illustrate auctions or sales and cannot be posted on other web page without the permission of the owner.

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