Romanian auction house Artmark is selling off the jet aircraft of former communist dictator Nicolae Ceauseșcu as well as another one of the same model used by his post-revolution successor, President Ion Iliescu, news agency Agerpres reports.
The ROMBAC 1-11, powered by a Rolls-Royce engine, was the first and only jet aircraft for passengers in the former Eastern bloc not made in the Soviet Union. The model, of which only nine were made between 1982 and 1989 at a factory in Bucharest, can seat 119 and reach a top speed of 870 kilometers per hour.
The first ROMBAC 1-11 carried its first passengers on January 28, 1983, between Bucharest and Timisoara, and its first foreign flight was in March 1983 from Bucharest to London. The Romanian passenger jet now being auctioned off was used by Ceauseșcu for official travel between 1986 and 1989 and was the fifth such aircraft built.
Iliescu used the ninth — and last — ROMBAC 1-11 as a special presidential aircraft for his first term (1990–1996). Romanian airline Tarom has handed over the other seven ROMBAC 1-11 to Egyptian, Pakistani, Turkish and Cypriot companies.
The two former presidential jets remained in the country and were operated by the former state-owned Romavia airline, which has since gone bankrupt. In March this year, the two aircraft were declared part of the national cultural heritage by a ministerial decree.
The two planes are currently located at the military base next to Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest. The jets are no longer airworthy and will be sold as industrial-historic monuments via an online and phone auction at the end of May. Bids will start at €25,000 each.
Title image: The first completed Rombac 1-11 airplane rolls out of the hangar in 1982. (source: agerpres.ro)