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