One of the pilots of the sole Antonov An-225 Mriya has returned to the home of the aircraft that he once flew. Major Dmytro Antonov filmed a detailed tour of the aircraft’s damage just days after Antonov’s CEO had been dismissed for allegations that he allowed the plane to be destroyed in the first place.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, citizens of the country are picking up the pieces to rebuild something resembling normalcy. For pilot Major Dmytro Antonov, it means finally getting back to Hostomel Airport just outside of Kyiv to find out what happened to his beloved plane. The pilot has excitedly uploaded videos about flying the largest cargo aircraft in the world for years, but one of his latest was more somber. Major Antonov provided a tour of what’s left of Hostomel Airport and the planes that are parked there.
The An-225 makes its appearance at about 18 minutes in.
We knew from previous reports and video that the plane took a hit from some sort of strike and then burned where it sat. But now, thanks to Major Antonov, we know a lot more about how bad things got.
The flight deck has been erased to a pile of metal that’s completely unrecognizable.
The blaze reached a portion of the aircraft’s landing gear, leaving behind naked wheels and a blackened belly.
The engines on the starboard wing also received damage, with one burned out. In the video, Antonov mentions that jet fuel is leaking from the damaged wing.
What I was surprised by was the presence of a large slash into the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. At least from the video, it’s not clear what caused such a thing.
There’s also a Cessna quite literally holding up the port wing.
Major Antonov thinks a lot of parts can be saved, but he acknowledges that the final determination of the plane’s damage will be made when the company can get a team out to assess it.
Long before Major Antonov descended on the airport, he alleged that the real reason behind the plane’s destruction is mismanagement within Antonov. In another video, he says that Antonov’s CEO was warned about the potential of an invasion a month before it happened. Yet CEO Serhiy Bychkov failed to have the aircraft moved to a safe haven. The company’s official explanation for why the plane didn’t leave is that it was undergoing repairs sans one of its six Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofans.
The parent company of Antonov, state arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom, has dismissed Bychkov until it and law enforcement bodies in Ukraine can confirm the validity of the allegations.
Once again, the plane’s future remains unclear. The company can’t afford to rebuild it and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to see it happen. However, given the conditions of the country right now that money would probably be better spent on supporting the people. If you’re interested in helping out the folks in Ukraine CBS News has compiled a list of ways anyone can donating.