Roamin' in Romania - Part two
Hugo Mambour/AviaScribe took time out this summer to visit Romania, reporting this time from Borcea-Fetesti, one of Romania's principal fighter bases. All photography by the author and Roger Cook/Pynelea Photo Bureau.
The local unit is the Grupul 86 Aviatie Vanatoare si Vanatoare-Bombardament "Lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita" or 86 Air Fighter and Fighter-Bomber Wing. Before its conversion to the Lancer A/B/C, the unit was known as Grupul 86 Aviatie Vanatoare and was composed of three squadrons flying MiG-21M/MF and PFM (the latter were locally called RFMM for unknown reasons) single-seaters as well as MiG-21U/US/UM two-seaters. In addition to the modern-day Lancers, Il-28s (H-5R and HJ-5) are attached to the Escadrila 38 Reconuastere reporting directly to the HQ in Bucharest.
The Grupul 86 was created as the Regimentul 86 Aviatie Vanatoare from the Regimentul 206 Av. V. Tactica in 1959. It was then flying the MiG-19, which was partially replaced in 1967 by MiG-21F-13 (two squadrons on MiG-21s and one remaining on the MiG-19). The unit was named Lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita in 1991 and it became the Grupul 86 Aviatie Vanatoare in 1995.
When the wing converted to Lancers in 1999, the 3rd squadron was disbanded. Some rumours mention the incorporation of Esc.38 into the second squadron but have not been confirmed. The only airworthy HJ-5 (n°408) was on static display at Mihail Kogalniceanu during the airshow and the last airworthy H-5Rs are n°308 and 309, but the crash of the recently overhauled H-5R n°310 could have fatal consequences for their future.
Over the weekend of the airshow at Mihail Kogalniceanu, detachments of most of the fixed-wing aircraft still operational with the FAR were deployed at Borcea-Fetesti for the flypast. The only type missing was the An-2. Three MiG-23MF/UBs - reported to be the last ones still flying - came from Grupul 93 Aviatie Vanatoare at Timisoara-Giarmata.
Other Lancers came from Grupul 95 Aviatie Vanatoare based at Bacau, the first unit to be equipped with the Lancer in 1997. Iak-52s (note the local designation, not Yak) came from the Grupul 19 Aviatie Scoala de Legatura at Focsani, L-29s and L-39ZAs came from Grupul 20 Aviatie Scoala Vanatoare si Vanatoare-Bombardament at Boboc and IAR.99s came from Grupul 49 Aviatie Vanatoare Bombardament at Ianca.