Where? Kiev - Gostomel, Ukraine
When? 30/09 - 02/10/2010
The airfield Kiev-Gostomel proved to be a good location for the show as nearly all Antonov types for the show are already on site. In the back of my head was however not only to see the civil part of Ukrainian aviation and this manufacturer, but also to see their Air Force. This was however a bit disappointing as only one Mil Mi-8 helicopter took part in the daily flight display and not even one jet could be seen around the place.
To open the event on Thursday the mighty An-225 Mriya (Dream) took to the skies, but no photo of it in the air was made due to a bad positioning... Fortunately it was at least possible later during the day to get up close and personal with the 'monster' and get an excellent impression of its size. As the aircraft left the show directly on Friday morning to carry out some heavy duty work no second chance was given to get the desired photos of it in flight.
Besides Antonov's unique construction a lot of the other types were present as well on the vast static display area, which is usually the ramp of the aircraft factory: An-26, An-140, An-148, An-158, An-22, An-22 and An-124 were presented. Unfortunately there was no sign of the new addition to the military transport family - the An-70 - and its current location remained unknown. A nice surprise was however the chance to go and see a part of the active ramp with many rare registered and marked aircraft at one of the show days. Examples are a Georgian An-12, Ukrainian AF An-74 currently waiting for maintenance. Another building revealed furthermore one of Antonov's An-12 currently in maintenance.
All of the aircraft in the static display could be photographed nicely and some even from the inside and showed the huge variety of the aircraft that originate from Gostomel with the aim to transport large cargo as far and efficient as possible.
Though the propeller-driven planes such as the An-12, An-140 or An-22 did not take-off, flight presentations were shown by the civil An-148, its successor and stretched version An-158, An-74 STOL freighter, and the heavy transport An-124 'Ruslan'. They all showed nice take-offs with a slight bank to left and did one to three rounds in the air before coming back to the ground. Not too much as one might think, but seeing those aircraft flying is a rare, and thus lucky, opportunity, especially in such a close succession.
The military highlight was the Russian Su-30LL (LL for Letayushchaya Laboratoriya meaning Flying Laboratory) of the Gromov Flight Research Institute (LII) at Zhukovsky, piloted by the famous Anatoly Kvochur. Several familiarization flights in the morning before the actual show provided nice poto opportunities, and the display itself in the afternoon impressed with a quick take-off and bank, but all the other manoeuvres, including a 'tailslide', where however far away and not in the best light conditions for decent photos.
Another participant from Russia was the L-39 formation "Vyazma Russ" flying four of this Czech-built trainer aircraft. Their display however was once again difficult to capture and in comparison to other Russian display teams not that exciting. The same type of aircraft is also flown by the "Baltic Bees" jet team, who arrived with four aircraft on Thursday evening, but only one jet did do the daily display routine.
'Antonov' was also celebrated by many An-2s, which are still used as a workhorse in the Ukraine and widely spread. A 4-ship formation showed the wide use of this aircraft and towing 6 gliders at the same time is surely an achievement that cannot be done by many other planes. The turboprop-powered An-3T in the Static Display was a display that the airframe is still good today to be modified for future use:
Apart from the above mentioned aircraft mainly some general aviation types were presented in the static display, reflecting the character of an aviation fair. Some nice exhibits were discovered amongst them such as a Yak-12, three L-39 - one of them with a 'L-39D' designation - and a highly modified, and US-registered, Mi-17.
In previous years the Ukrainian Air Force did participate, the Antonov fleet did show a formation fly-by ... but nothing of that happened this year.
Thus summarizing the event it might not seem that exciting, and in combination with the very cloudy weather on all four days of the event the show did surely not bring the result I have been after for. But being at the birthplace of the famous Antonov 'workhorses' and experiencing an Ukrainian Air Show flair was well worth the trip.
Additionally trips around Kiev and a visit to the Aviation Museum at the Zhulyany airport did round up this aviation trip to the Ukraine very well. It only remains to be hoped for another military aviation event in the Ukraine in the future.
And here are some photos in a higher resolution (width: 1200pix) for download available:
Thank you for rating this article.