It’s been over a month since Ukraine’s legendary Antonov An-225 Mriya was destroyed in Russia’s invasion of the country. In the aftermath of the destruction, the aircraft’s manufacturer has realized that it simply doesn’t have the cash to bring the bird back to life. But to help make the Dream fly again it’s launching a fundraiser.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been heartbreaking with countless lives lost. The nation’s infrastructure is also crumbling after each attack. Aviation hasn’t been left alone, either. Along with the loss of the An-225, flight restrictions are changing how people travel and leased aircraft may get stolen from western owners. Through all of this, Ukrainians remain optimistic and hopeful. Antonov wants to see its An-225 Mriya back in the sky, even if it takes donations to do it.
On March 24, Antonov CEO Sergii Bychkov posted a plea for help on the company’s Facebook page. It’s long, but here’s a snippet:
Dear citizens of all countries of the world!
Among all transport planes a special place occupies an-225 “Dream” plane DP “ANTONOV” is the largest by mass cargo transportation and unbeatable by its parameters. Over 30 years of operation on the airline of countries of all continents, the aircraft has demonstrated its unique flying technical characteristics and the possibility of transporting large-scale trucks that no other cargo aircraft can perform.
Despite the difficult times, the team of DP “ANTONOV” strongly considers it necessary to prevent the complete irreversible loss of the legendary aircraft as one of the symbols of modernity and to begin work on the revival of the flagman of transport aviation An-225 “Mri I am. Unfortunately, in a difficult time for Ukraine and dp “ANTONOV” to solve this task there is a lack of funds.
We propose to establish the International Fund for the revival of the transport aircraft An-225 “Dream”.
Some have wondered why the plane couldn’t just have been flown away to safety. The official explanation is that the aircraft was parked and undergoing repairs with an engine removed.
However, as Simple Flying reports, one of the aircraft’s pilots blames the An-225's failure to escape on mismanagement at Antonov. The pilot, Major Dmytro Antonov, alleges that Antonov leadership was warned in January about the possibility of war. The aircraft could have been moved to a safe location, but management chose not to. At this time Antonov hasn’t confirmed or denied the allegation.
Regardless of what happened, that is now in the past and a symbol of Ukrainian pride has been lost.
What the revival of the An-225 would look like is unclear. The original airframe still hasn’t been inspected and it’s unknown if the second, unfinished airframe remains undamaged. However, photos and video from Hostomel Airport show the aircraft in poor condition with significant sections just completely burned down to ash.
As of now, donations for the fundraiser are accepted via bank transfer, but I hope the company opens it up to something people might feel more comfortable with like a GoFundMe. It’s also unclear how much money Antonov is asking for. In the early days after the aircraft’s destruction Ukrainian state defense company Ukroboronprom said that it would take $5 billion and five years to resurrect the aircraft.
Whatever the cost, hopefully one day the Dream flies again.