On July 28, 2022, Ukrainians celebrated “Statehood Day” as a national holiday for the first time. Coinciding with the holiday, Ukrainian aircraft designer, manufacturer and service company Antonov announced the naming of nine aircraft to honor the heroism and resilience of the Ukrainian people following the invasion by Russia earlier that year. The aircraft involved include seven An-124s, one An-128, one An-158 and one An-178, all of which are named after fallen cities.
The An-124 Ruslan has been a frequent visitor to Paine Field Airport in Everett, Washington, as of late, where it’s been delivering large parts to The Boeing Company. The planes have typically flown in before dawn, quickly unloaded their cargo, and departed mid-morning. However, one of the massive freighters flew in mid-afternoon yesterday during some outstanding winter light. It was on the ground 2-3 hours and departed just before sunset. And let me tell you… our local community of aviation enthusiasts showed up in full force.
Yesterday’s aircraft was UR82008, “Be Brave Like Okhtyrka.” And while these large Ukrainian jets have always been known to draw a crowd, there’s something different now that the country and its people and their freedom have been attacked. To all Ukrainians: your bravery is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Be Brave Like Ukraine.