How Wild Dreams Come True
As I watched the seagulls, I thought, that´s the road to take;
find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.”
In 1993, at the Josip Križaj Aviation Club in Ajdovščina, 19-year-old Primož and his colleagues were putting their gliders back to the hangar in the sunset when he spontaneously said: “One day I will come with a GALEB G-2 (Seagull G-2) military plane and fly it low over the runway ”. Of course, they laughed at him and teased him for years to come, saying, “where is your plane?”
In 2013, Primož’s youthful dream came true. With the GALEB G-2, he flew over the home runway in Ajdovščina and waved to his mother and father in the garden. He also became the owner of not one but two GALEB G-2s.
“Everything is possible.”
Primož´s big dream was simply to fly. The long and hard journey, with the support of his family, led him to start doing it professionally, as a line pilot at the former Adria Airways. When he finally settled down a bit and his thoughts calmed, the vision of great love from his youth, GALEB G-2, began to rise before his eyes again.
Flying Galeb G-2 for the first time in Belgrade with a living legend – lt. Colonel Marjan Jelen, a test pilot in ex Yugoslav Air Force. Lt. Colonel Jelen is the first and the last person to fly faster than sound in Yugoslav-made aircraft. It all happened on 22/11/1984 in the area of Pančevo.
The challenge for him was to buy a plane that would allow him to get closer to those primal pleasures he had always longed for. The Seagull was a logical decision, as it was financially viable, easy to fly and maintain, and also belongs to our technical history.
“Galeb” was the second generation of jet fighters and in years from1968-69 they were named the best school plane. Pupils in Mostar and Zadar were learning to fly on them. They were designed to replace American obsolete Lockheed T-33 aircraft. Seagull is a very responsive aircraft that allows certain deviations, so it is extremely safe to learn on and fly. They were also exported to some African countries. In 1995, after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, the Yugoslav army had to eliminate part of its aviation. Thus, eleven seagulls (serial and tactical numbers from 101-112) were sent to ZTC Zagreb for repair with the intention of being sold to the West. There are now only about 15 “seagulls” actively flying in the world today.
After almost two years of negotiating with the owner, the price finally seemed appropriate and Primož with all his savings and credit and the help of his brother Dalibor, who flew GALEB as a young SROA soldier in Zadar, finally flew to the US to get it. Meanwhile, another suitable aircraft appeared in San Francisco, but in very poor condition. They offered it to him at a very reasonable price and Primož did not have the heart to leave it very far from home. So he returned home not with one, but with two planes, for which he paid about 60,000 euros.
Ten years passed from the first idea to buy Galeb to its realization.
In the hangar at home, however, the real work has only just begun. The goal was the complete restoration of both aircraft. Primož spent all his savings and all his free time on it. The new jet engine was brought from the USA and it cost as much as 30,000 euros. They completely restored the electrical assemblies, hydraulics, wheels, controls, etc. Both engines were restored at the Orao company in Bjelina, and the planes were also repainted. The search for parts was a path of thorns, but Primož was lucky enough to be helped by many people, especially from Serbia. He invested more than 80,000 euros in the entire renovation, and above all, a huge amount of time and effort that is impossible to evaluate.
Rolls Royce Viper engine- first Galeb is ready for an engine test.
Both aircraft are in the US registry, so FAA inspector Zach Mc Neill arrived from the US and was the first to test the aircraft. Primož watched him impatiently from the ground, and Zach’s raised thumb removed all the burden from his chest after landing – the plane was finally ready to fly.
Primož had completed his education in the USA three years earlier. After the briefing and the theoretical and practical part of the exam, he finally took off the runway by himself.
In an hour, which seemed more like a few minutes, after a swift climb, basic acrobatics, and imitation of engine failure, he successfully landed satisfied with the acquired knowledge and the feeling that he had the plane under control.
There was only one, last step separating him from the final realization of his dreams from his youth.
The next day, Primož and Zach flew to his native Ajdovščina. Calm and without euphoria, he finally did what he set out to do 20 years ago. After a low flight over the runway, he greeted his parents in the garden, and his mother recorded everything with a camera.
The incredible will and inner strength it took to get to that moment finally paid off, the dream was born, and the end of that journey only marked the beginning of a new one.
Few people believed in this project and that the plane would really fly, but in the end, he succeeded with a small team. The entire journey gave him a lot of moral capital. He reaffirmed that “where there is a will, there is a way.” He soon sold the second seagull due to the weight of finances, and the N102PP finally reached its baptism.
Galeb baptism, December 2013, Aquila Air
“GALEBOVANJE” has started. Everyone who had the opportunity to fly with the Seagull was of the same mind- this kind of experience really brings you into deep contact with that “real” pleasure of flying.
With a friend, leader of a former acrobatic group “Stars”, Andrej Perc.
The desire to make aviation accessible to as many people as possible and to help Aquila Air Adventures overcome the myth that pilots are “something special” led to the dream of an aviation museum and to the inspiration to help young dreamers on their way to the realization of their dreams as well.
The association organized several events: an open day, a photo exhibition, and a presentation of the aircraft at Aviomania in Tuš shopping centers in Slovenia, where countless young and old enthusiasts sat in the seagull, and an aviation exhibition in cooperation with Ljubljana Airport and Samsung at Brnik Airport where visitors of the Galeb G-2 could experience it in the combination with a simulator.
Primož was invited to present his inspirational story on TEDx, and recently Galeb was also presented in the RTV Slovenia documentary “Passion for Flying”.
“Once you throw yourself into the realization of your dreams, you first have to believe in them yourself, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to convince others as well. You have to break down the obstacles in your head and bravely set out on your journey. At the same time, it is important that you also enjoy.”
photos by: friends
N- 60 GALEB G-2
a low-wing, two-seater military jet, training aircraft with a tricycle-type landing gear that allows landing on grassy surfaces.
Rolls-Royce DNB Viper ASV.11 Mk 22-6 turbojet engine with a thrust of 1113 kg. (Turbojet engine is the oldest and simplest type of gas turbine engine used in higher speed aircraft, where a small frontal cross-section and high flow rate are desirable).
Two Colt-Browning 12.7 mm M3 machine guns in the nose of the hull. Combinations of bombs and combat and school missiles up to 500 kg can be hung on six beams under the wings.
Maximum speed (weight 3884 kg): 800 km / h
Maximum speed of a fully equipped aircraft (weight 4234 kg): 700 km / h
Flight altitude limit: 8,000 m (Above 11,000 m with sufficient stability and handling)
Lifting speed: 22.8 m / s
G acceleration (weight 3884 kg): +7.5 G and -4 G
G acceleration of a fully equipped aircraft (weight 4234 kg): +5.0 G and -2.5 G
Wingspan with tanks: 11.62 m
Wingspan without tanks: 10.47 m Length: 10.47 m
Height: 3, 28 m
Wing area: 19 m2
empty: 2,617 kg
maximum take-off mass: 4,234 kg
1,000 liters in main tanks and 2 x 150 liters in side (wings)
Maximum fuel consumption: 900 liters per hour
Aircraft number 23108 is a sort of a record holder, as it has been actively used for 20 years. During that time, it made 9,783 flights and flew 6,000 hours. The normal aircraft life of this category is 4000 hours of flight.
Aeronautical Museum Belgrade
– Aeronautical Museum Belgrade
-Čuvari našeg neba, Beograd : Vojnoizdavački zavod, 1977