Giant Antonov aircraft returns to Doncaster after sister plane destroyed in Ukraine

A giant aircraft has returned to Doncaster – just months after a sister plane was destroyed during the war in Ukraine.

By Darren Burke
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 12:22 pm

The Antonov An 12B touched down at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, to the delight of planespotters.

The 56-year-old aircraft, which is registered in Ukraine and is now operated by Motor Sich Airlines, flew in from the Czech Republic.

One avation enthusiast said: “Nice to see you again, kid. And what beautiful noise you made as you swept by!”

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The Antonov AN 12B is back in Doncaster. (Photo: Roland Nussbaumer).

Its arrival is good news for Antonov fans, left saddened after the destruction of its sister plane during fighting in Ukraine.

The Antonov An-225, the only one of its kind in the world, had been a regular sight in the skies over Doncaster in recent years.

The huge aircraft was based at Hostomel airport around an hour's drive from Kyiv and which came under attack from Russian helicopters and paratroopers.

The Russians abandoned the area and in a report earlier this year, BBC war correspondent Jeremy Bowen showed viewers the devastation in the area, including the wreckage of the cargo plane, which has been totally destroyed.

He said: “In the midst of it all, there’s this – this is the wreck that was the Mryia, the dream, Myria in Ukrainian.

"It was the world’s biggest cargo aircraft.

"A huge amount of national pride was wrapped up in this – it was a symbol of modernity, of Ukraine’s place in the world, striking out across the globe – and now it’s a symbol of what’s happened to the country.”

The aircraft, designed by the Soviet Union’s Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980, was the longest and heaviest airplane ever built with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It also had the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.

Only one AN-225 Mryia was ever built by the company Antonov, and the giant of the skies had made several visits to Doncaster Sheffield, formerly Robin Hood in recent years, attracting scores of aviation buffs.

In February it was reported that the hangar housing the AN-225 had been damaged in the fighting.

There were other huge Antonov aircraft also located there and the plane had been invaluable in tranporting large amounts of humanitarian aid around the world at short notice during emergencies.