It was 1990. Freedom was sweeping across
Well, now that we woke up to life and freedom, we rubbed our eyes and started to look around to a world we sort of knew existed, but had little or no clue about. We started reading. We started travelling. We started brow. hand on a sec! This is early '90s, right? So. even if it may shock the ones of you who were not born but downloaded, there was no internet. There was no email. And please sit down: there were no GSMs! SMS was unknown as a word. Ryanair was a tiny, nearly bankrupt Irish carrier that nobody gave a toss about, they were dying soon anyway. Only national carriers could offer a decent schedule. Not decent prices, of course. Oh, and in case I forgot: prices were not in 11511x2310l euros. They were mostly in dollars. US dollars. Loads of them, particularly for a student. Which is what I was back then, just a student.
With planes out of the way, hijacking not
so much in fashion back then, hitch-hiking kinda
risky. we were left with walking and trains. So when the need to reach
Anyway, back to our journey. I'll spare you
the spicy details of a bunch of students in their early 20s crossing Europe by
train and will get straight to our interim destination,
I must express my love for those guys and gals in Sup'Aero who welcomed us. Imagine a couple of unshaved, tired, sleep-deprived and smelling guys who knock at your door at saying that they just arrived from Romania, on their way to Andorra and only want to establish a contact. I think my first impulse would've been to search for some spare change in my pockets. Well, our French colleagues showed all their hospitality and then introduced us to some of their teachers, laboratories, campus and, crucially, the Euroavia office. Yes, this was truly first contact. Ok, the fact that we were still high in the news and had a Prime-Minister who spent a few years in that school was no trivial thing. The rest is history.
Hm, not really. Once back home (
Wow! We HAD to be part of that. We barely had a telephone, we barely knew how to use a fax machine, we only knew of the existence of PCs. but had no doubt that we belonged to that family, we belonged with Euroavia.
With the continuous help of our French friends we got the application procedure. This was my first contact with a sample of European bureaucracy. We thought we'd apply and then we'd be in. Not so quick! Ok then, we'll start small, local. They can't prevent us from this, can they? No, but neither can we call ourselves Euroavia Bucharest. Fair enough. We decided on a completely different name that couldn't in any way be linked with a registered name. So we founded AVIA. No, it's not derived from Euroavia, whatever you may think. It stands for "Asociatia Viitorilor Ingineri de Aviatie" (the Association of Future Aviation Engineers), which is what we all were, weren't we?
We had our first visit. Wow! What an excitement! Three of our French colleagues paid us a short visit and I remember how impressed they were with our beer. Which at the time was mostly water, but they thought it was a student's beer: cheap, light, tasty. They were French what did they know about beer? We didn't dare to give them wine though.
I wrote the first local report for the Euroavia Magazine. Ok, maybe our Dutch colleagues thought that was against the rules (we weren't members yet). But for everyone around me that local report became a guiding rod: they accepted us! We were on the right track to becoming part of the family!
We had our first fly-in, which happened to
be organised by Sup'Aero! Since they had taken the
trouble to know us, they also knew that our limitless enthusiasm was only
matched by our desperate lack of money. So we were invited to join for free.
Thank you my friends. You made our dreams come true. Since this was for free
(for us, not for them), we kept it small: five. Sorry guys, I realise this
might've been a tad over the top, but we needed many eyes and ears to not miss
a thing. We knew we belonged to
We finally applied for membership. As we
still couldn't afford to pay the membership or even the participation to the
next EMEAC, again our French friends came to rescue: they paid it all. We
managed to get some free tickets from our airline, Tarom,
then off to
However, against all odds, we were in! Yes, we were now officially Euroavia Bucharest. Thank you my friends. Thanks to all my colleagues who worked hard to make this happened. Thanks to our school who gave us support in this. Thanks to Tarom who gave us a few tickets to travel for free, even if we did not display long legs and lavish blond hair. Thanks to our French brothers and sisters, who spared no effort or money to get us in, when nobody knew what we were worth. And last but not least, thank you Euroavia for making the best of my student years.
Founding president of Euroavia Bucharest