The Ar 65 in Bulgarian service
In 1937 twelve Ar 65 were sold to Bulgaria for use in the training role. These were referred to as  Ar 65F Orel (Eagle), and served with the second fighter Orlyak (Wing) that was based at Korlove in Bulgaria. The wing consisted of five Yato (Training Squadrons) and an aerobatic school. The training squadrons had several types of aircraft, including the Avia B 534s, Avia B 122s, He 51s and Bu 131s and among these were the 12 Arado 65F biplanes. These were also among a large assorted consignment of military aircraft totaling 203 in number that the German RLM supplied to Bulgaria between 1936 and 1941. Needless to say that this was then a step in the right direction for Bulgaria towards the creation of a capable and active air force.

The formal rebirth of the Bulgarian Air Force took place on Sunday 27th June 1937 at Bojourishte Airfield that is close to Sofia. On that day His Majesty King Boris III handed over VNVV Standard of the four newly formed wings as he donated the 12 Arado Ar 65 and 12 Dornier Do 11 Bats. The Arado was primarily intended to be used as fighters. These were paid from the King’s own pocket. Hence it was for this reason that both the Arado 65s and the Do 11s lavishly displayed King Boris III’s own cipher, consisting of a red shield over which was painted a stylized letter B in yellow appearing on the fuselage and tail fin respectively. The Arado Ar 65 were eventually used as advanced and continuation trainers. Like the He 51that was serving alongside the Arado, they were powered by BMW 750 engine.

In spite of its graceful biplane design, the Ar 65 was never particularly well liked by its crew for their handling qualities, but they are mainly  known for being the aircraft that broke the hated restrictions of the Neuilly treaty of 27th November 1919, the Treaty of peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Bulgaria and Protocol and| Declaration signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine. That treaty went back to 1919 when after being defeated in WWI, Bulgaria under the agreed terms had been legally prevented for two decades from possessing an air force. In 1932 the Thassaliniki Treaty between Britain, Bulgaria and France finally abolished the Paris Treaty’s limitations on Bulgaria’s military aviation.

Other places from where the Arado 65 operated apart from Korlove were Kazanluk Airfield where the 1st and 2nd Training Air School was located.
Type Werk.Nr Registration History