Romanian Achievements and Records: Part 16


101. Romanian inventor Henri Coandă made the first jet aircraft in the world, named the Coanda-1910, in 1910. (sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This happened just seven years after the Wright Brothers historic first flight and four years before the great air battles of World War 1.

Henri Coandă in his youth

But what did he really invent? A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as 10,000–15,000 metres (33,000–49,000 ft). At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft achieve their maximum efficiency at much lower altitudes. Some jet aircraft can move faster than sound.

A modern type of jet aircraft, now seen in cartoons, games and action movies

A replica of Coandă-1910, the world’s first jet aircraft

The unusual aircraft attracted attention at the Second International Aeronautical Exhibition in Paris in October 1910, being the only exhibit without a propeller. It wowed the crowd. That’s not only because the biplane had a complete wooden cover, and its struts and bracing wires were kept to a bare minimum, but also because its tractor-mounted engine drove a centrifugal compressor through a series of gears.

A joyful Henri Coandă in his old age. The creativity is still reflected in his eyes!

Coandă later tested the engine near Paris. It never managed to fly, but was superb evidence of the talent of its young designer, the Romanian Henri Coandă, who was only 24 when he built the plane.

In fact, it showed the world something else, another idea about flying. An idea that now, in the 21th century, is seen in cartoons, games and movies!

Henri Coandă

  • Journalist Henri Petit in a French weekly magazine “La Vie Au Grand Air” exceptional number dedicated to Henri Coandă and his jet aircraft  (Saturday, October 22, 1910) – Click here
It is different in design and construction of what has ever been done before. […] Everything is original on this device, the fuselage and the wings are covered with wooden plywood mounted on steel reinforcement, the system of government is cruciform, located at the end of a empennage made up of two planes inclined at 45 degrees to the horizontal, the propeller, especially, consists of a turbine.
  • French magazine “La Tèchnique Aeronautique” (1910) – Click here
The Coandă airplane is one of the few devices of which everything is new and the judicious and rational way through which the inventor gets out of the trodden, usual road in the domain to face the risks of an unprecedented work […]
  • The man who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Gustave Eiffel said about Henri Coandă: (1910) – Click here
This boy was born 30 if not 50 years too early!
  • German-language book Jahrbuch Der Luftfahrt (1912) – Click here
Coandă’s biplane sparked a great sensation at the exhibition in Paris, at the end of 1910 […] Outstanding at this aircraft was the lack of a propeller, which was replaced by a turbine designed by Coandă himself.
  • Romanian engineer Elie Carafoli – Click here
Coandă give the mankind, many decades ago, a precious device for crossing the air space: the jet aircraft, the first in the world. The priority of the engineer Henri Coandă, in terms of the invention of the the jet, is now recognized everywhere.
  • Angelucci, E. and Matricardi, P.; Sampson Low guides – World aircraft – Origins-World War 1 (1977), Page 75
The Coandă was the first ‘jet’ plane in history, a forerunner of modern aviation. […] Apart from this revolutionary form of propulsion, the plane also impressed those who saw It with its elegance and its structural features.

At the European Parliament, an exhibition commemorated in 2010 the building and testing of the Coandă-1910.

102. In 1927, Romanian aviator Gheorghe Bănciulescu became the first pilot to ever fly a plane while having prosthetic feet. (sources 1, 2, 3)

Gheorghe Bănciulescu, the first pilot in the world to drive a plane while having prosthetic feet

After a tragic accident, the pilot Gheorghe Banciulescu lost his both legs, and shortly after he was made ​​aware by the doctors that he would not be able to fly again. But at less than two years after the event, with the help of some special prostheses, he became the world’s first aviator that lifted in air with his lower limbs lacking. The second to do this was pilot to do so was the Russian Aleksei Meresiev, followed by Games Bader, an English captain in World War II.

For this accomplishment, the French president of that time, Louis Barthou, gave him “the Order the Legion of Honor with the rank of knight.” 

In a French civil aviation mission of identifying and establishing air routes over the African continent, where Bănciulescu attend at Prince George Valentin Bibescu‘s proposal, he contracted a tropical flu that proved to be fatal. George (that is how he was often called) died at only 37 years in 1935, in Cairo. His body was brought home and is buried in the Bellu cemetery in Bucharest.

Gheorghe Banciulescu in 1925

This is how prosthetic feet looked in the ’20s

103. Romanian politician Nicolae Titulescu is the first person in history to serve as President of the League of Nations twice, in the 1930-1931 mandate and in the 1931-32 one. (sources 1, 2)

The second and the only other man to hold this function twice was the Belgian politician Paul Hymans, first in the period of 1920-1921 and in 1932–1933. There had been a total of 23 presidents in the three decades of existence of the League of Nations, one of the world’s first humanitarian organizations.

The League of Nations was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace and it was the precursor of the United Nations. According to BBC, the League of Nations was “the most ambitious attempt that had ever been made to construct a peaceful global order”.

Nicolae Titulescu, an icon for the united Europe

104. Nicolae Titulescu is the only person ever elected twice in a row as President of the League of Nations(sources 12)

Nicolae Titulescu’s most important initiative in his position as a president of the General Assembly of Society of Nations was the support given to the European Union Project initiated by the French foreign affairs minister Aristide Briand in 1930. The European Union proposed by Briand was supported by only four countries (out of over 20!): Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Titulescu was the most important supporter of the project, besides its initiator.

But the concept of European Union, even in its intergovernmental form, not overnational, could not become an institutional reality in the circumstances of the mentality of the epoch, for which the national sovereignity was a fundamental element that could suffer no significant
limitation in the name of European Union. But keep in mind that Titulescu had the strength of character to support this cause, even in times when majority of the countries (and all the great powers!) amounted against it. The European Union was to be established in 1952, 11 years after Titulescu’s death.

Titulescu’s thinking and actions were remarkable lucidity and realism. He fought for the sovereignty and equality of all the states in international relations, collective security and the prevention of bullying. Titulescu had the determination of an architect of history.

Nicolae Titulescu, one of the most famous Romanian politicians in history

Édouard Herriot, Prime Minister of France, about Titulescu:

This minister of a small country makes a high class policy. What an astonishing man! In the foreign politics he’s embarked on a fragile boat which he leads like it’s a large ship, in the internal politics he stands on a rotten plank, to which he ultimately gives the stability of a rock.

Nicolae Titulescu about his own ideas and legacy:

And even if I will not be a beacon, but a candle, that’s enough. And even if I will not be a candle at all, it’s still enough, because I tried to turn on the light.

From left to right (referring to the men on the chairs): Romanian politician Nicolae Titulescu, Alfredo Rocco, Albert Einstein, Gilbert Murray, Paul Painlevé, Paul Valéry. They were all members of the International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation (precursor to UNESCO).

105The Danube Delta is home to the largest population of pelicans in Europe. (sources 1, 2, 3)

Spread over 2,200sq km, the Danube delta is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and something of a wet dream for birdwatchers.

Pelicans in the Danube Delta

The Danube Delta is home for over 300 resident and migratory species of birds, mainly because of its crossroad location (parallel 45) between the Equator and the North Pole.

A colony of pelicans in the Danube Delta, Romania