Flight of the “Winter Tiger”

My friend Victor invited me over to Bremerton, Washington this week to take a flight in his former Romanian Air Force IAR-823 training aircraft (4 seater) which he and his wife Kirstan have dubbed “Winter Tiger” (it was purchased in the winter and that I believe is Kirstan’s favourite animal). The aircraft was built in Romania from 1974 to 1983 (this particular one is from 1976) and were operated by the Romanian Air Force, Romanian Air Club, Angolan Air Force and Hungarian Air Club.

IAR-823 Victor Norris
IAR-823 “Winter Tiger”

The IAR-823 is not the most common aircraft going around and after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe most of them ended up with private owners in the United States. Only around 80 were ever built and about 47 airframes remain with approximately 42 registered with the FAA. have only ever seen 3 IAR-823’s yet have managed to fly in 2 of them (both in Washington state)! My other flight was during a fantastic formation flight with the Cascade Warbirds in 2012. Today we went up on a flight over parts of the Olympic Peninsula.

The IAR-823 is a neat looking aircraft
The IAR-823 is a neat looking aircraft
gull-wing doors IAR-823
Gull-wing type doors enable access to the cockpit
IAR-823 Romanian Air Force
The aircraft wears the roundels of the Romanian Air Force

All week the Seattle area has been blessed with warm, sunny weather. Heading over to Bremerton on the ferry though, storm clouds were brewing all around the horizon and it was not looking good for flying. The drive from the ferry to the airport was in light rain…

Washington State Ferries Bremerton
Washington State Ferries

Then upon our arrival the clouds and rain cleared and we had beautiful sunny weather and clear blue skies.Time for pre-flight checks, a quick photo-op and take off! We took off without delay and did a great circuit around the surrounding region with a good view of the Puget Sound, Bremerton, Seattle, Mount Ranier and the Olympic Mountains. The air was smooth and the clear weather held out (actually it was getting hot in there!).

Ready for take-off
Ready for take-off
Puget Sound Aerial View IAR-823
Puget Sound
Good views all round
Good views all round
IAR823 flight Looking across to the Olympic Mountains
Looking across to the Olympic Mountains
IAR823 flight 2014
Time for a selfie!
Mt. Ranier off in the distance
Mt. Ranier off in the distance
Bremerton Naval Yards and the mothballed US Navy Aircraft Carriers
Bremerton Naval Yards and the mothballed US Navy Aircraft Carriers
Well piloted
Well piloted
Landing bremerton national airport
Coming in for landing

The IAR-823 is a neat little aircraft that flies very well. Designed for military training but it is perfect for joy flights or air touring (it is also fully aerobatic but you need the right rating for that). Victor is rightly very proud of his “second wife” and takes great care of her. We had an enjoyable flight and Victor made a very smooth landing. Time for some more photos, then an excellent meal at the airport diner. One great afternoon accomplished. Thanks for the great flight Victor!

One proud owner
One proud owner

2 thoughts on “Flight of the “Winter Tiger”

  1. Some lovely scenery to fly over. I traveled to Washington state back in the 80s and saw a lot of the same things from ground level.

    That aircraft is quite attractive and looks quite like a Saab Safir in many respects.


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