On the first day of the war in Ukraine, Russian troops were advancing from all sides. Within hours, fighter jets and helicopters were seen in the skies over the capital, laden with a lethal payload.
Hostomel Airport, which is located right on the outskirts of downtown Kyiv, was initially the target of some of the heaviest fighting. Russia wants to block Ukraine’s access to airspace, and secure a landing point in the heart of Ukraine.
The heavy fighting took a toll on the airport, which also hosts Antonov airline – which has its own section of the airport.
Antonov is also the company that has the world’s largest aircraft, the AN-225, in its fleet. The company is owned by the Ukrainian state. In everyday language, this transport plane is nicknamed “Mriya”, which means “dream” in Ukrainian.
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Ruined the first day
But when bombs rained down on Hostomel Airport in February 2022, it dealt a crushing blow to the world’s largest aircraft. The plane was hit and completely damaged during the bombing.
With a wingspan of 88.4 meters and a length of 84 meters, the plane is large enough to span a football field from 16 meters to 16 meters.
The aircraft is capable of taking off on its wings with a total weight of 640 tonnes (maximum take-off weight), making it also the heaviest aircraft in the world.
This plane is known around the world and wherever it goes, people make pilgrimages to see planes taking off and landing.
In 2014, the air giant visited Oslo Gardermoen Airport. This is the first and last time visiting Norway. The aircraft was then chartered by the Norwegian Armed Forces to transport 135 tons of equipment home from Afghanistan.
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Suspect airline manager
One pers conference from the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) is now providing new clues about the AN-225’s final days.
They write that investigators from the police together with the security service have uncovered new facts about criminal activity for which the former managing director Antonov will be responsible. Two airline employees have also been arrested in this case.
According to SSU, investigations revealed that the head of the state-owned company was responsible for arranging the evacuation of the plane ahead of the invasion and it had been decided to move it to the airport in Leipzig in Germany. According to SSU, the suspects also prevented the Ukrainian Home Guard from blocking the airport where the plane was parked.
– According to the investigation, the AN-225 was in good technical condition before the invasion, which allowed it to fly outside of Ukraine, according to a press release.
SSU contends that the managing director never gave notice that the aircraft needed to be moved, which he should have done, and that he is now suspected of gross negligence.
Furthermore, they wrote that the destruction of the AN-225 was equivalent to a loss of NOK 2.4 billion. They also added that the lack of insurance also caused a loss of NOK 12 million.
Holds 125 world records
The AN-225 not only holds the record for being the heaviest aircraft ever in the air. This plane, which during the Soviet era was contoured to carry the shuttle on its back, has a total of 125 world records.
In 1993, it broke all records when it carried the world’s heaviest single payload, a power generator weighing 129 tons. This cargo plane also holds the world record for the longest cargo hold in the world, which was broken when it carried the entire wind turbine blades.
As you know, this plane was created to transport space shuttles, but after the fall of the Soviet Union it was taken over by the Ukrainian authorities and converted into a cargo plane.
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