On Ukraine’s ” Aviation Day,” August 30, at the military airport in Boryspil, there was a demonstration flight of the military transport plane An-26 that had been restored with the assistance of donors and volunteers, reports the online news source cenzoriv.net.
The plane, renamed Phoenix, which had been in storage since 2005, was made airworthy thanks to the joint efforts of the volunteers of the Wings of the Phoenix NGO, the employees of Ukrainian aircraft repair facilities, and military aviators from the 15th Transport Aviation Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Taking part in the ceremonies marking the plane’s restoration were Ihor Kabanenko, Deputy Minister of Defense on European Integration, Yuriy Biryukov, head of Wings of the Phoenix and advisor to the president of Ukraine, the command and personnel of the 15th aviation transportation Air Force Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Air Force veterans, aircraft workers, representatives of local government, numerous guests and journalists.
“Today is an especially important event,” Kabanenko told the participants. “With the assistance of volunteers we have restored a transport plane that has now joined the ranks of our Air Force. Something similar had already happened in our history when, thanks to the support of concerned citizens, we repaired combat vehicles and planes and bought armaments and military equipment. This happened when the people of Ukraine were defending their land from the Nazi evil. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself, and, again, our country is virtually on the eve of war. Today’s example is extraordinarily significant….(with the help of volunteers) this plane is now ready … to protect our families, defend Ukraine and protect our future,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Oleksiy Bratus, commander of the aviation technical department, described the genesis of the project.
“Five months ago, I met Yuri Biryukov. Our first conversation about restoring the plane, which has been in “iron” storage for a decade and used for parts for other aircraft in our military unit , had almost a mythical character,” he said. “First, neither he nor I believed in the possibility of this project. However, we tried. The repair work began with a visit to the Antonov State Enterprises, where ,with the assistance of the chief designer Pavlo Potapeko, the plane was diagnosed: “will live!”
He went on to explain that all the necessary service and routine maintenance were performed and the anchoring system, the hydraulic and fuel hoses and aircraft rubber components were replaced. Finally, the plane was painted by the unit’s navigator, Major Roman Rodionov.
“There is no aircraft in the world in this color — “camouflage pixels”– Bratus added. “Ours is the first. We encountered many difficulties during this project. There were problems with the engine, there were nerves and emotion, but we succeeded, and last night the plane became airworthy.”
The Antonov An-26 plane was given the name “Phoenix” after the restoration. It circled the military airfield three times and successfully landed on the runway. It will be used by the Air Force of Ukraine for military transportation and other military tasks.
cenzoriv.net, translated by Anna Mostovych