IAR 80, the prodigy child of Romanian aviation

The IAR 80 was a Romanian World War II low-wing, monoplane, all-metal construction fighter aircraft. When it first flew, in 1939, it was competitive with most contemporary designs like the German Messerschmidt Bf 109E, the British Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. However, production problems and lack of available armament delayed entry of the IAR 80 into service until 1941. Although there were plans to replace it fairly quickly it was forced to remain in front-line use until 1944, when – even if for some aspects outdated – it still could compete under certain conditions with more modern aircraft such as the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. The aircraft is best known as playing a major role in protecting the oilfields at Ploieşti.

In 1930 the Romanian government issued specifications for a new fighter and the IAR (Industria Aeronautică Română) design team led by Dr. Ion Grosu worked on fighter designs. Work began on the IAR 80 prototype in late 1937, originally with an open cockpit and the 870 HP (649 kW) IAR K14-III C32 engine which was a licensed Gnome-Rhône 14K II Mistral Major. The prototype was completed slowly, and first took to the air in April 1939. Test flights of the prototype were impressive; the aircraft could reach 510 km/h at 4,000 m, service ceiling of 11,000 m, with the ability to climb to 5,000 m in 6 minutes which was respectable at the time. coming, in order, after the British model Hawker Hurricane (570 km/h), the U.S. model Curtiss-Wright P-37 (550 km/h) and the German Messerschmitt Me-109 (520 km/h). The improved model has reached 550 km/h, that places it in the second place.

The IAR 80 family comprises: IAR 80, IAR 80A(1941), IAR 80B, IAR 81 (light strike and dive bomber aircraft), IAR 81B, IAR 81C, IAR 80M (1944), IAR 80DC (1949). After World War Two, the Russians shipped home the entire I.A.R. factory and all aircraft from Braşov, as "war reparations". After the Soviet occupation of Romania, within five years all remaining IAR 80s were scrapped and replaced with Soviet fighters. None of them is known to survive. An IAR 80 post war rebuilt after the fall of Communism and painted in its 1941-1944 original colors was shown at the Mihail Kogălniceanu airshow, near Constanţa.

Specifications (IAR 80)

General characteristics:
* Crew: one, pilot
* Length: 8.9 m (29 ft 2 in)
* Wingspan: 10.52 m (34 ft 6 in)
* Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
* Wing area: 16 m² (172.16 ft²)
* Empty weight: 1,780 kg (3,924 lb)
* Max takeoff weight: 2250 kg (4,960 lb)
* Powerplant: 1× IAR K.14-IV C32 air-cooled 14-cylinder double-row radial, 716 kW (960 hp)

* Maximum speed: 495 km/h at 5,000 m (275 knots, 316 mph mph at 16,500 ft)
* Range: 940 km (507 nm, 580 mi)
* Service ceiling: 10,500 m (34,500 ft)

* 4 × FN (Browning) 7.92 mm with 500 rounds each mounted in the inner portion of the wing

Source: Wikipedia; visit for more infos!
Images from here.