January 7 this year marks the 50th anniversary of a round-the-world trip by a TAROM IL-18 aircraft, which took 80 hours of flight on a distance of 47,000 kilometers, with stopovers in several major cities around the globe.
The flight route was: 'Baneasa' Bucharest Airport - Karachi - New Delhi - Bangkok - Rangoon - Hong Kong - Tokyo - Nagoya - Tokyo - Wake Island - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Mexico City - Acapulco - New York - Las Palmas - Rome - Istanbul - Baneasa, the current 'Aurel Vlaicu' Bucharest International Airport.
"On this day at 13:01 sharp, 50 years ago, a Tarom-operated IL-18 aircraft touched down at the Bucharest 'Baneasa' Airport, after a round-the-world trip that took 80 hours of flight and several days with stopovers in more than a dozen cities around the world. This was a flight of 47,000 kilometers, and today we have invited here all those who remember it. Sadly, the only survivor of the flight crews is commander Ion Alexandru, but many of those in attendance here today were present at the plane's take-off or landing at the 'Baneasa' Airport; of course, many were part of the TAROM personnel, back then the TAROM airport staff and traffic control personnel were a single unit. Many of the enthusiasts of that day joined us here today, to recall with pleasure those moments and this one-off event in the history of TAROM. Virtually, this has never been repeated since, because not everyone can afford a round-the-world tour. Let us remember that in those years airplanes had far less electronic equipment and everything, from the flight plan to other calculations regarding the trajectory and route were done by the navigators, or the commanders, everything that nowadays is done instantly by on-board equipment that isn't even extremely complex. It's been 50 years since then, we are all glad that we were able to celebrate this moment and I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm of the participants, many of them well over 70 of age," spokesman of the National Company Bucharest Airports (CNAB)," Valentin Iordache, said on Tuesday.
"It was a flight with about 65 passengers and, of course, two double crews, because both the cockpit and the cabin crews had to periodically take turns. It was a major, noteworthy event, such feats are no longer done today. After 27 days representing 80 hours of flight over a distance of 47,000 km, the IL-18 plane returned home to the 'Baneasa' Airport, where, according to the statements of the mission commander, pilot Ion Alexandru, the crew members were given the most beautiful welcome," Valentin Iordache said.
The anniversary event titled "Around the World in 80 Hours" devoted to the golden jubilee of the first round-the-world trip by a TAROM aircraft was organized by the National Company Bucharest Airports, airline company TAROM and the "Bartoc" Cultural Foundation. Attending were Romanian civil aviation personalities who remembered this historical moment; a presentation of the uniforms worn by the TAROM flight attendants over time, and an exhibition dedicated to this memorable flight accompanied the event.