The Secondary Technical School originated from an initiative launched by the Serbian Engineering Society in 1894; however, adverse historical circumstances, in the first place the Balkan Wars and World War I, prolonged its actual establishment for quite a long time.
The Law on Secondary Technical School in Belgrade was adopted on 30th March 1922, and, on 15th May the same year the Law was published in the Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes No.105.
Josif Bukavac, a prominent architect, was entrusted with the responsibility of producing the design and priced bill of quantities for the construction of the Secondary Technical School.
Though the initially envisaged location for the School was a site of the old Palilula garrison, the School was eventually erected on the corner of Cara Dusana Street and Knez Mihailo Venac. All construction works were completed in two years.
At the same time it was the age when our region saw the beginnings of civil aviation.
The first Serbian industry that produced airplanes, named Ikarus, was founded in Novi Sad on 20th November 1923. On 21st April 1924, the First Serbian Airplane Factory Rogozarski was established in Belgrade. First airplanes of the airline Franko-Rumen landed on the makeshift Belgrade airport located near Pancevo on 25th March 1923, whilst the first regular air mail service commenced on 16th April the same year. A new Belgrade Airport, which was built in the vicinity of Bezanijska Kosa, was officially opened on 25th March 1927.
The State Secondary Technical School in Belgrade officially started operating on 22nd September 1924, and ever since the history of Serbian education, industry and aviation has been written in the building located in Vojvode Bojovica Boulevard.
In the period until World War II, the School educated a body of constructors who left an indelible mark on the development of Serbian aviation of the time. A Gliding Club, as an autonomous local board of the Royal Air Club Nasa Krila (Our Wings), was founded in the School on 10th November 1934. Later on, a Gliding Group Ikar (Ikarus) was also founded. These organizations cooperated with the airports in Zemun, Novi Sad and Borovo.
As the School developed, so the interest in the qualified professionals there educated rose. Hence, the first documented record of cooperation between the School and the Ministry of the Army and Navy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia refers to the education of military personnel
On 14th July 1930, Dragomir Z. Stojanovic, the Minister of the Army and Navy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, enacted a Decision specifying that the Secondary Technical School ought to enroll 20 non-commissioned officers that year, to address the Army’s needs for military personnel with professional qualifications.
A man who, without reservation, marked the pre-war period of the development of the State Secondary Technical School was its founder and first principal – Josif Bukavac.
Six of the School’s students fought in International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, and both students and teachers displayed courage and readiness to fight fascism that threatened to swallow up the light of freedom in Europe.
The terror bombing of Belgrade, code-named “Operation Punishment”, started over the sleeping town on a Sunday morning of 6th April 1941 with a deafening thunder of the German aviation. Nazi bombs inflicted massive damage to a school building located in the backyard of the school complex, and the main building was invaded by the Wehrmacht forces. Under the orders by occupying authorities, the School had to continue operating.
Starting from 22nd March 1942, the School was repeatedly evicted and moved from one place to another, first into the School of Commerce in Cetinjska Street, then into the primary school ‘Vojislav Ilic’, and in 1944, into the primary school ‘Vojvoda Putnik’ near City Hospital. Following liberation, the School finally returned to its premises.
During World War II, more than 200 students and teachers from the State Secondary Technical School sacrificed their lives for the cause of liberty. Nine of them were declared national heroes.
In the post-war period the School stood witness to social changes in the country, always tailoring its field of work and vocations to the needs and progress of society. The Aviation Department was established at the request of the General Directorate of Aviation Industry. First-generation students enrolled in 1947, and their education here lasted for three years.
Josif Bukavac, born in Pulj, Istria, in 1875, graduated from the High Technical School in Belgrade in 1900, and from that time on – devoted his entire life and work to his people, in a way inherent only in men aware of the true importance of education for the fate of a nation. He was the founder, teacher and principal of the State Secondary Technical School in Belgrade from 1924 to 1940. What his today’s counterparts can still learn from him is the devotion, seriousness and love with which Josif Bukavac approached the work. Bukavac was keeping abreast of the times, and on many occasions between 1904 and 1931 visited Switzerland, France and Germany in order to familiarize himself with the experiences of great European cultures and their modern education systems, and utilize them in setting up the first State Secondary Technical School in Serbia.
With this in mind, in 2004, the Aviation Academy initiated a project of setting up new, pilot educational profiles. The project developed through two parallel processes.
The first one referred to producing teaching curricula, which meant that complex European and national legal norms governing the process of education for aviation personnel had to be harmonized with the Serbian legislation governing the education system in Serbia.
The second process referred to obtaining all the necessary certificates which would enable the Aviation Academy to be accepted and recognized as an educational institution that meets all standards set by the national and Joint Aviation Authorities.
The European Commission adopted on 20th November 2003 a Regulation proposed by the Joint Aviation Authorities. The Regulation stipulates the common, essential requirements to provide for the process of training and required curriculum in educating aviation technical staff, as well as the conditions to be fulfilled by the aviation technical staff. It also prescribes the requirements for the organizations involved in the training of aviation technical staff (EC 2042/2003). Following the adoption by the European Commission, the requirements specified in the Regulation were adopted by national aviation authorities (for Serbia – the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia) and harmonized with their respective national legislations.
As a result, pursuant to the Decision on the enrollment of students in secondary schools for 2007/2008 academic year, issued by the Minister of Education, the Aviation Academy was given permission to introduce five new educational profiles in the field of air transport.
In September 2007, the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia authorized the School to act in the capacity as a Training Centre for airport ground handling personnel, and in October the same year, the School became an authorized PART-147 Organization for conducting the training of ground crew. In September 2010, the School became a Pilot Training Centre on the basis of the authorization issued by the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Republic of Serbia.
Numerous certifications followed. Some came from the national aviation authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Montenegro.
The education of personnel for professional military NCO service in units of Air Force and Serbian Army Air Defense was reestablished in our School on 23rd March 2010, in accordance with the Decision issued by the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Serbia.
In the history of our School, two significant dates stand together – 22nd September 1924 when the School was opened, and 21st December 2011 when the Aviation Academy became an authorized centre by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Over the many decades of the existence of our School, in the building that was designed by the architect Josif Bukavac who also was the first principal of the School, not only students and teachers, but different teaching curricula, educational profiles and the very names of the School continually changed and superseded one another.
Today, in the same building, the Aviation Academy, seeking to make the greatest contribution to the development of modern and efficient education system in the Republic of Serbia, provides education to the future of Serbian aviation, civil and military alike.