cpt. av. Boris Ferderber

Bomber/Night Fighter/Transport Pilot

Born: 3 May 1916, Congaz


  • 22 June 1941 - 1942: 1st Long Range Recon Squadron
  • 1943 - August 1944: 1st Night Fighter Squadron
  • August 1944 - May 1945: Air Transport Squadron

Combat missions: over 46

Victories: 1


  • Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class with one bar
  • Steaua Romaniei Order Knight class with Virtute Militara ribbon



Picture courtesy of mr. Boris Hersonski

Lt. av. Boris Ferderber and his wife

Boris Ferderber was born on 3 May 1916 at Congaz, in Bessarabia, which at that time was still part of the Russian Empire. In 1918, the province was reunited with Romania. Thus, Boris Ferderber was later able to attend the prestigious Manastirea Dealu Military High School, near Targoviste. He graduated in 1934 and was admitted into the Air Force Officer School at Cotroceni, in Bucharest, which he finished in 1937, receiving the rank of sublocotenent av. (2nd lt.) on 1 July. He was assigned to the Guard Aviation Flotilla that operated mostly reconnaissance aircraft.

By 1941 he had been promoted to locotenent av. (1st lt.) and was part of the 1st Long Recon Squadron from the 2nd Information Flotilla. The unit was equipped with Bristol Blenheim Mk. I airplanes. Lt. av. Boris Ferderber made his first sortie on 22 June 1941, with slt. av. Mircea Stoica as observer and cpt. Mihai Stanescu as machine-gunner. Their mission was to observe activity in several train stations and on airfields in his native Bessarabia: Tighina, Basarabeasca, Chisinau, Cetatea Alba, Ialoveni, Bolgrad, Bulgarica, Tatar Kopcheak. They received flak over the targets and were even attacked by 3 I-16s on their way back. Boris Ferderber manage to shake them by diving and flying very close to the ground. Before passing westwards over the Prut River, they spotted Soviet troops near Reni, on the eastern bank, and machine-gunned them.

The 1st Recon Squadron carried on fighting in the 1941 campaign in Bessarabia and then at Odessa, where the Blenheims also executed bombing missions. On one of those missions, on 15 September 1941, lt. av. Boris Ferderber was flying with slt. M. Popescu as observer and serg. Alexandru Albu as machine-gunner. The airplane was attacked by VVS fighters near Dalnik and, during the following dogfight, serg. Albu managed to shoot down one of them. In November, lt. av. Ferderber was awarded the Virtutea Aeronautica Order Gold Cross class with one bar and in July 1942 he received the Knight class.

In September 1942, the 1st Long Range Recon Squadron was sent to the front at Stalingrad, where it operated until December. For his service in this second campaign, lt. av. Boris Ferderber received a bar to the Knight class on 11 June 1943. He was also promoted to the rank of captain and assigned to the 51st Night Fighter Squadron, equipped with Bf-110 fighters, which he eventually ended up commanding. In August 1944, following the coup that overthrew Antonescu and brought Romania out of the Axis camp, the Red Army confiscated all Romanian Bf-110s and thus the 1st Night Fighter Squadron was disbanded. Some of the pilots, including Boris Ferderber, ended up in the Air Transport Squadron, flying Ju-52 with supplies for the Romanian troops fighting the Wehrmacht in Hungary and Slovakia.

After the war, he left the army in 1946 with the rank of lt. cdor. and joined the TARS air transport company, where he flew Li-2s. Between 1951-1959 he worked in the civilian aviation. In 1959 he was part of the first Romanian Il-18 crews sent to the Space and Air Center in Tashkent for 9 months and then for 3 months at a training center at Alma-Ata. After this, until 1969 he flew on Il-18 airplanes of TAROM, the Romanian national air transport company, as navigator. On 26 February 1962, the Il-18 serial no. YR-IMB was flying to Tel Aviv. All four engines stopped while the airplane was over the sea, in the vicinity of Cyprus. The crew, made up of V. Georgescu (pilot), N. Anghel (co-pilot), M. Trandafir (mechanic) and B. Ferderber (navigator), kept their calm and managed to make an emergency landing at Yeroskipou, near Paphos in Cyprus, saving the life of 100 passengers. The location chosen by Boris Ferderber was a former airfield, which had been used by the RAF during WW2. He managed to guide the airliner to it despite the poor visibility at dusk (the night fighter training proved to be very useful) and the pilot landed the Il-18 on the belly. The crew was awarded the Muncii Order 1st class.

In 1969, Boris Ferderber retired. He passed away on 13 October 1995.

Picture courtesy of mr. Boris Ferderber Jr.

The Il-18 YR-IMB after its fortunate crash landing in Cyprus

Author: Victor Nitu
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