I had the opportunity to “meet” the Aerobatic Yakers for the first time in 2012, on the occasion of the Lake Surduc Aeronautic Show. They were the main reason I went there. I had found out about the Yakers from other people’s stories and photographs. Then many opportunities arose, as I am passionate about aviation photography. We „met” again in Timisoara, Campia Turzii, Tuzla-Aeromania. Each time in the same “formation”: them flying high in the sky, me on the ground with the big black camera in my hand. The last time we “saw each other” was when we shared the same table at the Buzias – Aero West Airfield, shortly before their takeoff for the Aeronautic Show Surduc, 2017 edition. We didn’t exchange any impressions. Each of us was busy getting ready for what was about to happen – they preparing for their flight and me getting my camera ready for the big event. So today I will tell you about them from the perspective of the person who witnessed their aerial show for many times but never knew them personally.
They are 3 pilots passionate about flying and aerial evolution, who brought something unique to the Romanian air shows: the first private aerobatics team. It’s no ordinary flight but an air shows in the purest sense of the word. The aerial evolution of the Aerobatic Yakers arises admiration not only from those initiated in the secrets of flight, but also from the less knowing. Their story began in 2006 at an airshow organised at “Mihail Kogalniceanu” Airport, near Constanta, just a few months after they had purchased their first two Yak-52 from Aerostar Bacau. They have been flying since then … and not only that, but they diversified their aerial evolution, developing into what we can see today: aerial aerobatics and extremely well-executed flight maneuvers and obviously the famous pyrotechnic effects accompanied by Rammstein’s Du Hast. Oh … and let’s not forget about the Air Bandits, a simulation of an aerial dog fight between piston engine aircraft from Second World War, executed together with the famous Lithuanian pilot Jurgis Kayris.
The Aerobatic Yakers are flying with Yak-52TW aircraft built at Aerostar-Bacau. Two Yak-52 aircraft were purchased directly from factory in June 2006, and the third one was bought from the U.S.A. These are planes built under license after the Russian Yak-52 plane. The Romanian version is an improved one, with a retractable train and tail dragger, in order to give them an Old Timer look. The Yak 52 is a plane designed for school and training, as well as for high aerial aerobatics. It is equipped with a 400 HP 9-cylinder radial engine and an MTV triple blade propeller. The cruising speed is 300 kilometers per hour.Two of the Yak airplanes, LY-WAW and LY-WAA, are painted in camouflage colors. King Michael’s Cross is painted on the fuselage and wings. But the most beautiful part of these planes seems to me the tail, as they depict the portraits of some of the best World War II Romanian pilots, whose memory was lost intentionally during the communist regime. But now, after 75 years of oblivion, we are beginning to remember them and their place in our history. The third Yak-52 is painted yellow on the wings and aluminum on the fuselage and bears the USAF markings of the 1930’s; it is registered in the United States as N185YK. The operational base of the Aerobatic Yakers is Banesti Airfield, in Prahova County.
The three Aerobatic Yakers delighted the public both in the Romania and abroad, being present at aviation events and air shows in Australia, Saudi Arabia, China, Poland, Turkey, as true “ambassadors” of our country. The team members are Ioan Postolache – leader pilot, Daniel Stefanescu – right wing pilot, Dan Conderman – left wing pilot. But the Aerobatic Yakers team includes also the people who make their aerial evolutions possible: Laurentiu Stan – pilot, Dan Stefanescu – pilot, Ioan Diaconescu – navigator and Iulian Parpala – ground technician.