More Airplane News – Antonov’s Ruslans

Today’s article is the Wall Street Journal is the wonderful journalism I subscribe for. On front page, column one, A Cold-War Plane Lifts Ukraninians In Cargo Market [sub. needed] details the life and times of Antonov.

Antonov is the owner and builder of seven Ruslan cargo planes, commissioned in the Cold War to carry Soviet tanks and missiles. Today, space aboard these planes — and 15 others owned by two Russian rivals — is a precious commodity for customers in the West, who pay as much as $24,000 an hour to rent one.

But now there’s an unusual predicament facing the company that one official calls the crown jewel of Ukraine’s economy. A European firm won a $43 million lawsuit in 2002 against the Ukrainian state in a dispute over an oil-refinery contract. When Ukraine refused to pay, the company looked around the West for Ukrainian state-owned assets to seize — and found two Ruslans, one in Canada and the other in Brussels. Fearing further seizures, Antonov recently grounded all flights to North America and Western Europe.

These are the planes you have seen that can load from the nose and tail. They are good at moving bulky stuff. Parts of the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum were transported in those things.

The story goes on pulls together Afghanistan, European defense planning, and Guinness World Records.

I highly recommend it.