In November 1936, the Romanian Aeronautical Industry – IAR proposed to the Ministry of Air and Navy the project of a completely metallic, low-wing, monoplane fighter. It was the “birth” act of what would become to be known as the IAR 80 fighter. Two and a half years later, on April 4th, 1939, the maiden flight of the Romanian IAR 80 fighter prototype took place. 83 years later, at the beginning of 2019, the Sky Legend association was founded by a group of people passionate about the history of Romanian aviation in general and the history of the IAR 80 aircraft in particular. The association is a non-governmental, public, apolitical organization that operates on a voluntary basis.

The NGO’s main objective is to design and build a flying replica of the Romanian IAR 80 fighter aircraft, in a 1: 1 scale. It is desired that the replica of the IAR 80 aircraft be as similar as possible to the original. Once the design and manufacturing is completed, the aircraft will be officially approved and registered so that it can participate in air shows and aviation events, both in Romania and abroad.
The plane will be named IAR 80R for “Redivivus”. Although other two replicas of the IAR 80 have been built, they are only static and do not have the ability to fly. Both can be seen as part of the permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Romanian Aviation, in Bucharest. The first steps in this direction were taken as the association was founded. The next step was planning and establishing the technical specifications of the future IAR 80 fighter aircraft. Once these stages were completed, the design stage and execution stages followed, as well as forecasting of the budget necessary for building the aircraft. The budget is estimated at approximately 200,000 euro.

At this moment there is no functional IAR 14 K engine available or that could be restored to flight condition. This is the reason why it was decided to use a similar engine purchased from the USA. The model chosen will most likely be the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92. This engine was used for planes such as McDonnell Douglas DC-3, C-47 and the B-24 Liberator bombers. The advantage with this type of engine is that it was produced in very large quantities and can be purchased from US companies that sell them after reconditioning (RK) with 0 functioning hours. At the same time, these engines come with warranty, spare parts and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification.

Another important component of this project is the main landing gear. The intention is to use an existing model which should be adapted to the IAR 80 project. The design and construction of a landing gear in only in 1 or 2 samples would be difficult and the costs would be very high. In addition, a landing gear built from scratch would require testing and official approval. The closest main landing gear in design to the IAR 80 is the one used for the North American T 28 Trojan. This type of landing gear is available in large quantities, new or repaired, that also have FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification. If necessary, modifications will be made to comply with the landing gear technical characteristics of the IAR 80 aircraft. If this solution proves to be inadequate, the landing gear will be designed and built from scratch.

At this moment, several stages of the project were completed and the work is now concentrated on the computerized design part. Once this stage is finalized, the parts that will compose the future IAR 80 “puzzle” will be built and made ready for assembly. All the activities within the project are carried out on a voluntary basis by the members of the Sky Legend Association, and by volunteers. Their activity can be followed both on the Sky Legend Association website –, and on their Facebook page – IAR 80 Redivivus. On the same website the flight simulator for the IAR 80 aircraft can be found, also articles about the history of the IAR 80 aircraft, about the pilots who flew this aircraft, as well as information on how you can support this initiative.

This is the first time when such a project takes place in Romania and, although it is an ambitious and a long-term initiative, I think that in 3 or 4 years we will see the IAR 80 fighter flying again.

IAR 80

Source & Photo Credit: