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The International Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics celebration at Plovdiv Airpot

Georgi Georgiev, www.VisitBulgaria.NET

On the 12th of April 1961 the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. After his great feat, 12th of April was declared as an International Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics.

Bulgaria also contributed to the development of the astronautics. Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov took part in Soyuz 33 space mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome on the 10th of April 1979. The International Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics is very popular in our country and usually it is feted with a spectacular air show. Plovdiv airport, near the village of Krumovo, is a traditional host of the imposing event.

I arrived in Plodiv Airport in 11 o’clock on the 12 of Aprill. There were so many people, who came here form all over the country to watch the thrilling show in the sunny, spring day. While I was walking to the runaway, I heard a defining sound from sky. I looked up and I saw a jet-fighter flying to the infinity. Finally, I lost it from my sight. I was about to continue my way when suddenly I saw a small spot in the air, which was getting bigger and bigger. The jet was coming back and in a second it passed above the spectators’ heads, raising up to the sun, making all king of loops and aerial acrobatics figures. This was one of the best pilots of “Graf Ignatievo” military airbase near Plovdiv.

I reached the runaway, were different kind of airplanes and helicopters were exhibited. The flying machines were opened for the visitors. People were queuing around to enter the cockpits and to see, how the planes helicopters look like inside. Probably the children were the most excited guests of the show. The kids were listening to the pilots and engineers with sparkling eyes, while they were talking about the machines and the thrilling experience of the flying.

Later the speaker announced the next attraction. It was time for the best aerobatics pilot in Bulgaria, Svilen Ivanov, to show its remarkable skills. His small red biplane appeared on the runaway. He slid the plane like a Formula 1 cart then he speeded up and took off.

The next 20 minutes were full off dizzy, heady, risky figures in the blue sky. He was an ultimate master of the plane, making his dangerous tricks with an enviable fleetness. He was flying just a meter above the ground. Then he suddenly rose up the plane, spinning it like a drill up and down, and in any possible directions. It was impossible to predict its trajectory. Everything was looking so easy but when he speeded up towards the audience, everybody held breath. It seemed the plane was going to crush into the crowd, but in the last moment the pilot rose it. Then he turned it sideward waving to the spectators from the cockpit.

That’s how the International Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics was marked. The event was a forerunner of the annual Bulgarian International Aviation Festival (BIAF), which will take place on the 23-24th of May 2009 for the seventh time, in Plovdiv Airport again. This is a remarkable air show with a significant foreign participation. During the festival, the visitors will enjoy an incredible combination of spectacular flying display, static display, presentations, meetings and other aviation events. Welcome!

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