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Ukraine’s pride AN-225 Mriya is hard to fly again

The AN-225 Mriya mechanical transport was produced by Antonov Aviation Company in the 1980s. It is the heaviest transport aircraft in the world ever built to date. It is equipped with 6 turbofan engines, has a maximum payload of 250 tons, can carry cargo inside or on its back.

The wingspan of the AN-225 Mriya is larger than that of any other aircraft in service. Only one An-225 has ever been built by the Antonov Company with its first flight in 1988.

However, the world’s largest transport aircraft of Ukraine She was hit by shelling and was badly damaged in late February.

Ukraine's pride AN-225 Mriya is difficult to fly back - Photo 1.

The AN-225 was heavily damaged in a shelling attack on Hostomel airport near Kiev in late February. Photo: CNN

“Dreams will last forever” – Antonov company wrote on Twitter when talking about the destroyed AN-225 and the fact that “Mriya” in Ukrainian also means “Dream”.

Can the AN-225 Mriya fly again? It seems very difficult even though Antonov’s experts have worked out many solutions, according to CNN.

“The nose of the world’s largest mechanical transport has been completely destroyed,” said CNN correspondent Vasco Cotovio when “taking a closer look” at the AN-225 Mriya in early April – “The wings and some Its engine was severely damaged. The tail end was riddled with several holes caused by shrapnel.”

Correspondent Vasco Cotovio commented: “If not for being hit directly in the nose, the AN-225 could have been repaired.”

Aviation expert Andrii Sovenko, who has been with Antonov since 1987 and has flown the AN-225, has compiled a detailed list of the plane’s damage.

“The nose and middle fuselage of the AN-225 Mriya – including the cockpit and the crew’s rest compartments – have been destroyed” – engineer Andrii Sovenko – “But the systems and equipment on the plane suffered the most serious damage”.

Kiev’s aviation expert emphasized: “It is very difficult to restore it. This is because most of the different electrical systems, pumps and filters used on the AN-225 were manufactured in the 1980s. “.

Currently these devices are no longer produced, so it will be very difficult to restore the AN-225 to the way it was.

“Fortunately there are many other parts of the plane that can still be salvaged such as aerodynamics, propellers …” – expert Andrii Sovenko added: “Six engines seem to be intact, the tail also has fixable”.

However, this expert emphasized that the repair to be able to bring the world’s largest transport aircraft hit by shelling at Hostomel airport is very difficult.

“It’s impossible to talk about repairing or restoring this plane. We can only talk about building another Mriya using discrete parts combined with parts that have been around for years. 1980 to build the second “- this expert asserted.

Ukraine's pride AN-225 Mriya is difficult to fly back - Photo 2.

Restoring the iconic Ukrainian AN-225 Mriya was difficult. Photo: CNN

Even this way “It will not be possible to build aircraft identical in design and equipment”. “It makes no sense to build an aircraft today with a design that is 40 years old,” added Sovenko.

The production of a second AN-225 Mriya is also not cheap, although it is difficult to determine the exact cost of it.

According to Ukrinform, Ukraine’s national news agency, the cost of this operation will be about 3 billion USD. The Antonov company in 2018 estimated that the completion of the second airframe would cost up to 350 million USD.

“It will be very difficult for the world’s largest transport aircraft AN-225 Mriya to fly again, although Ukrainian experts have conducted and calculated many solutions” – channel CNN comment.

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