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.
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.
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…
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!).
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!