MiG-21 Lancer farewell flight
Today, 15th of May 2023, the last MiG-21 Lancer jets of the Romanian Air Force took off for the last time from “General Emanoil Ionescu” 72nd Air Base in Campia Turzii and from “Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociornita”86th Air Base in Borcea. The final destination of the MiG-21 Lancer is “Captain Alexandru Serbanescu” 95th Air Base in Bacau. The last six MiG-21 Lancer of the RoAF landed at the 95th Air Base: 5801, 5834, 6010, 6487, 6518, 6607. It was the end of 61 years of activity of the MiG-21 aircraft within the Romanian Air Force and 27 years of flight of the modernized MiG-21 Lancer variant.
I pressed the ignition button. The needles of the tachometer started moving, the engine noise grew louder. I watch the hydraulic oil pressure rise and the corresponding cockpit lights go out.
The engine goes idle. Stabilized rpm, normal gas temperature, standard voltage; I signal the ground technician to disconnect the airfield power source.
I’m turning on the avionics system and entering the flight mission data. I check the flaps and aerodynamic brakes. I’m ready to go. I check the brakes, then accelerate the engine above the idle threshold and taxi gently. I line up with the runway, check the flaps position for take-off, and engage nose wheel brakes.
Pilot: “LanceR 01, for the last time, ready for departure!”
Tower: “LanceR 01, cleared for take-off! Thank you for your service in the Romanian Air Force!”
I squeeze the brake lever, rev the engine to full throttle, engage the afterburner and begin take-off. I check that the 2 lights are on (thrust and open nozzle). Everything is normal; I taxi – 100km/h….250km/h…330km/h, the plane takes off smoothly. Engine power and noise surround me; I feel all the aircraft’s power.
I’m airborne, all normal.
I join the flight formation as a teammate. We flight-pass in formation to give ours and the MiG 21’s salute for the last time to our colleagues on the ground.