„From the circle of young and enthusiatic amateurs, gathered around the late Mircea Cantacuzino, there is no doubt that Mr Ionel Ghica was performing air tourism in the true acceptance of the word..” section form article written in the “Aripi” magazine, year II, nr. 26 from 15th March 1932.
Although he did not learn to fly at the Mircea Cantacuzino School of Aviation, he adhered to its ideas, becoming a founding member of the Association for the Development of Air Tourism.
He broke the national 1.900 km non-stop distance record, and the national 2.000 km straight line speed record.
A year later, he joined Octav Oculeanu’s crew in flying on the Bucharest – Warsaw – Bucharest air route in 11 hours and 57 minutes. In September 1931, he flew alone on the Bucharest – Chernivtsi -Bucharest route and he partook in the first Romanian raid over Africa, on the Bucharest – Istanbul – Konia – Aleppo – Damascus – Gaza – Cairo – Aswan – Wadi Halfa – Adbara route.
He becomes famous with the Bucharest – Saigon flight (25 000 km), one of the greatest achievements of the era, being the first Romanian aviator to cross Asia.
Unfortunately, since sometimes the irony of fate is hard to understand, Ionel Ghica died from a serious intoxication at the peak of his career. To celebrate his memory, in January 1933, the Ghica family instituted an annual challenge consisting in a national speed contest on a 1.500 km preset route.