Civil Aviation

Russian forces take control over Hostomel Airport, Home of the Antonov AN-225. But the ‘Mriya is whole,’ Chief Pilot Dmitro Antonov says.

The NATO Strategic AirLift International Solution (SALIS) is based at Hostomel too.

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In the framework of the invasion carried out by Vladimir Putin’s government a confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian troops took place at Hostomel airport in the vicinity of Kiev.

According to The New York Times, at least a half dozen Russian helicopters were spotted flying west over the Dnieper river toward Hostomel, a town on the outskirts of the city. The helicopters also attacked Hostomel’s airport and at least one of those helicopters appears to have been shot down by Ukraine’s armed forces.

Hostomel is known as Antonov Airport as it was built by the aircraft manufacturer and is used as a test site.

As reported by Aviacionline.com, Hostomel is also home of the world’s largest and heaviest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya. Various media outlets and social media accounts have reported that the massive cargo aircraft was destroyed when the hangar housing it caught fire.

But in the afternoon of Feb. 24, 2022, Dmitro Antonov, chief pilot of Antonov Airlines, owner of the AN-225, assured that the Mriya is intact with a post on his Facebook account.

‘Dear friends. Everything fell into place. Great deception again. The Russian troops was near Kiev. Gostomel airport now under Russian airborne forces. Large planes big possibility will land tonight. From the positive Mriya is whole. We hold on and Glory to Ukoaine,’ Antonov said.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, lit. ‘dream’ or ‘inspiration’; NATO reporting name: Cossack) is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built. Its construction was halted in 1994 because of lack of funding and interest, but revived briefly in 2009, bringing it to 60–70% completion. On Aug. 30, 2016, Antonov agreed to complete the second airframe for Airspace Industry Corporation of China (not to be confused with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China) as a prelude to commencing series production.

The Antonov An-225 was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124 that was initially developed for transporting the Buran spaceplane. The only An-225 airplane was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb). It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kg (545,000 lb) on a commercial flight.

Moreover, the NATO Strategic AirLift International Solution (SALIS) is based at Hostomel too. SALIS is a programme created to provide unique air transport capability (outsized cargo) for its participating nations. Currently, a group of nine NATO Allies (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) are benefiting from the programme.

The programme is managed by the NATO Support Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the nine nations. In December 2018, NSPA signed a contract with the German-based company Antonov Logistics Salis to obtain assured access of up to five AN-124 aircraft within few days. In addition, the current contract also provides access to AN-22, AN-225 and IL-76 Chap IV aircraft.

H/T Earl Belz

Photo credit: Vasiliy Koba and Oleg Belyakov via Wikipedia

Antonov An-225 Mriya on finals at Hostomel_Airport
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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