Bulgarian aviation background
The aviation is not only an industry, but also passion and a way of living for millions enthusiasts around the globe. During the first years of XX century, Bulgaria was among the leading nations in this new exiting field. In 1912 Bulgarian State Aircraft Workshops (Държавна аеропланна работилница ДАР) was founded. In 1925 the company started producing airplanes under the name DAR. Various planes came out of the factory, including successful copies of german Focke-Wulf Fw 44J and Albatros C.III as well as Bulgarian designed DAR 10 light bomber. However, due to some uncertain circumstances and obstacles, in 1943 DAR seized to exist.
Bulgarian aviation born again
After the fall of communism, Bulgaria of the 90-es is a place full of hope and enthusiasm. One of those enthusiasts is Tony Ilieff, engineer working in the Sofia airport. In 1995 he together with a small group of engineers started a small ultra-light aircraft producing company. He named the company “Aerolanes DAR” thus partially reinstating the legendary Bulgarian state aircraft workshops from the first half of XX-th century. Even the location of the new company has been chosen to be at the place where it all started almost a century ago.
DAR – 11
The first project of the newly founded company was DAR-11, launched in 1996. With a view to a better economical and maximum effective spending of the limited /resources (time and financial funds) the technical project was worked out sticking to practice-proven classic solutions. Many technological checks were done. The body of the airplane was built as a frame construction – out of thin-walled seamless steel tubes. The main wing elements were made of wood.
DAR – 21
Two years later, in May 1998 DAR-21 project was launched. There was no need to use different (both in character and level of complexity) technologies. On 1st of April 1999 the prototype passed the strength static tests with flying colors. On 22nd February 2000 the registration procedure of DAR-21 airplane started. At that time there was no corresponding database in the official documentation of Bulgaria. So the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) set up a committee with representatives of the MTC, of the Technical University – Sofia, Aviation Department (TU) and of the “DAR” Ltd. This committee worked out requirements for creating experimental aeronautical vehicles with a weight up to 1000 kg. On the basis of these requirements the CAA Director-General issued an Order for appointing a technical committee with representatives of the MTC and TU which inspected DAR-21 and its documents and gave permission for carrying out the flying tests. On 28.06.2000, after the committee inspection, a Registration Certificate was issued. A test pilot was trained and approved by the MTC according to the prepared by the “DAR” Ltd Company programs for flying tests. The conducted flying tests started at Bojurishte Airfield on 01.08.2000 and ended on 25.08.2000 – 105 flights were operated totaling 41 hours and 10 minutes. All fulfilled exercises and results were recorded in the protocols of the flying tests. The results of the flying tests beat all expectations. DAR-21 laid not only the technological foundations but also the administrative ones for that type of aviation in Bulgaria. DAR-21 is the first all-metal airplane constructed in Bulgaria. This is the first CAA procedure considering an airplane designed and constructed in Bulgaria as well. All airplanes produced in Bulgaria were constructed by the military forces and never used in civil aviation. On January 18th 2001 the CAA Director-General issued the final Airworthiness Certificate No. II-1. That act brought to an end the legalization of DAR-21 airplane. The maiden flight of the airplane was on the second aviation show “Flight for everyone 2000″ organized by AOPA – Bulgaria, hold on September, 30th 2000 at the Bojuriste Airfield. The airplane operated several demonstrative flights including a demonstration with the agrochemical system – those were the first flights viewed by spectators.
On February, 28th 2001, the Agency for small and average business awarded the special prize for “The Product of the year 2000″ and “The Project of the Year 2000″ to the DAR-21 airplane. In 2004 Aeroplanes DAR would launch a modified bigger version of his year 2000 hit model calling it DAR-21 “Speedster”. This aircraft was meant to conquer the French market.
DAR – 23
In December 2000 “DAR” LTD started to work on the new models DAR-23 and DAR-23 enclosed. It was worked out mainly as a training airplane for basic training. The DAR-23 prototype was completed in August 2001 and was transported to the Bojuriste Airfield. On August, 23rd, 2001 the registration procedure of the airplane started. The DAR-23 enclosed prototype was completed in May 2002 and joined flying tests. The DAR-23 and DAR-23 enclosed airplanes are perfect for primary training of pilots. It are light and easy to operate – its stable “conduct” reassures beginners. The airplanes fly in a steady and stable manner even without power. Controlling the nose wheel provides a very precise ground operation (taxiing, taking-off and landing). The main scheme of the wheel carriers guarantees gentle landings but allows hard ones, too.
In March 2014, Aeroplanes DAR started developing the Mark 2 version of DAR – 23. This version will be again a two-seated airplane, though this time it will be based on DAR Solo Mark 2 airframe. We envision this plane to be an extension of the Solo family – bigger, two seated brother of DAR Solo.
DAR – Solo
In 2006 “Aeroplanes DAR’s CEO Tony Ilieff started developing new plane. Based on his former experience and extensive marketing research, he would focus his efforts into creating ultra-light, single seat airplane. According to Tony Ilieff this plane falls into hard-for-producing category. Nevertheless he considers this plane as successful. The plane made its first flight on August 2008. One year later DAR Solo was shown at the AERO Friedrichshafen 2009 exhibition, where the audience very well accepted it. Many copies were ordered; the plane took is condign place among the leaders in the ultra light class. In June 2014, the plane was certified under 120kg rule by the German airplanes regulation authorities. Now the Solo is ready to conquer even more markets than before.
In June 2014, DAR Solo’s Mark 2 was certified under 120kg rule by the German airplanes regulation authorities. Now the Solo is ready to conquer even more markets than before.