First ICARS built in Romania

First ICARS built in Romania

Around 1930, according to the book "The History of Romanian Aviation" published in 1984, it shows that the first passenger plane also nicknamed ICAR Commercial, appears to be licensed in Romania with only one copy. This type of airplane was actually BFW M.18 variant "b" with a capacity of 1-3 passengers. BFW M.18b is also mentioned in the international airline archives, as it was built in a single copy with "1" serial number, bearing CV-RAL on fuselage and wings and painted "No.1" on its tail. M.18b passenger plane did not have a long service life in Romania and its fate is unknown.

The first passenger plane built entirely in Romania was ICAR M.36 Commercial.

Many mistakes and inaccuracies have been made regarding the first passenger plane built and used in operative service in Romania. ICAR M.36 Commercial aircraft should have been named IAR-36 and designed to be equipped with the 450 hp Gnome & Rhone 7K engine, but the IAR factory contract in Romania has not been signed for reasons yet unknown. The project itself belonged to the German firm B.F.W (Bayerishe Flugzeugwerke AG) and the aircraft was to be named B.F.W M-36. But because Germany was severely "wounded" after the world economic crisis of 1929-33, Germany's BFW, which in the meantime was Messerschmitt, later submitted the M.36 project for potential foreign investors, and Romania seemed the only solution in the summer of 1933 ICAR's help to place a single M.36 order. The Romanian company ICAR was given the rights of the project and thus was born the first passenger plane fully built in Romania. The M.36 was built with the serial number "117", officially received the name "Commercial" and in its appearance in 1934, it was equipped with the classic English engine Armstrong Siddeley Serval I with 10 cylinders in diameter, 1148 millimeters and air-cooled. The Armstrong Siddeley Serval I engine delivered a power output of 340 hp, weighing 324 kg, and a 600 hours service life without mechanical maintenance.

Upon entry into service in 1936, the ICAR M.36 Commercial aircraft operated in the Romanian LARES company. During the operational service, ICAR M.36 Commercial has undergone changes to the passenger saloon, increasing the number of seats from 5 to 6. Also, the English engine Armstrong Siddeley Serval I was later changed with the 7-cylinder French classic star shape engine and the name "Lorraine-Dietrich 7Me type 47 Mizar", cooled with air / oil with a continuous output of 240 hp and in maximum mode reaching 284 hp. The French engine Lorraine-Dietrich 7Me type 47 Mizar was only 265kg in weight and 1240 millimeters in diameter. With these changes, it is hard to believe that the airplane would retain its original cruising speed of 220 km / h as it was exposed to official flight performance.

One of the serious errors of Romanian aviation historians and not only because these mistakes were copied and perpetuated was that it was thought that the type of passenger ICAR M.36 Commercial would have been re-engineered with the type of Lorraine-Dietrich M47 Mizar 300 hp ". The engine never existed under this name, and it is extremely unlikely that it would have provided those "300" horsepower that were also written in the old era publications. Another unclear situation of the Romanian historians regarding the real evolution of this apparatus would be that the aircraft was used in operative service until December 31, 1943. This is highly doubtful because the ICAR M.36 Commercial type (with its unique YR-ACS, according to the international airline archives, had been removed from LARES company since May 1940 with three other Junkers F.13 (YR-ABB, YR-AAE and YR-AAF) , a Junkers Ju-52 / 3m (YR-ABF), a De Havilland DH89 (YR-DRI), DH90 (YR-FLU), Potez 560 (YR-NNA) ). It can not be denied that the ICAR M.36 Commercial aircraft would not have been used until 1940, but the small number of flight hours accumulated during the four years of operation, ie about 218 hours, actually shows the "frequency" with which this aircraft was used. Another mistake of Romanian historians shows ICAR M.36 Commercial aircraft that it was "derived" from the older type of passenger B.F.W. M18 variant "b" built in 12 copies, when it was actually derived from type B.F.W. M18 variant "d" made in only eight copies and used mainly in Switzerland. While M18b had a capacity of 3-4 passengers, the M18d had a capacity of 7 passengers and was very similar in appearance to ICAR M.36 Commercial built in Romania.

Technical Features BFW M18b Commercial (ICAR M.36 Commercial)

  • Crew: 1 + 3 passengers (2 + 5-6 passengers)
  • Wingspan: – (15.4 m) 
  • Length: – (9.8 m)
  • Height: – (2.8 m)
  • Empty weight: – (1320 kg)
  • Maximum weight: – (2250 kg)
  • Propulsion: 1 Siemens-Halske Sh12 engine with 9 cylinders and power 110-125 hp (1 Armstrong Siddeley Serval I engine with 10 cylinders 340 hp and later Lorraine-Dietrich 7Me type 47 Mizar with 7 cylinders and 240-284 hp)


  • Maximum Speed: - (235 km / h maximum with Armstrong Siddeley Serval I engine)
  • Cruise Speed: – (220 km/h)
  • Minimum Speed: – (89 km/h)
  • Flight distance: – (700 km)
  • Service ceiling: – (4500 m)

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