Antonov: Legend of Ukrainian Aircraft Industry
More than 22,000 aircraft and over 100 modifications of flying technology have been developed by Ukraine's Antonov aircraft design bureau
One Antonov employee, Viktor Ukolov, has been constructing airplanes for over 50 years. Creating flying machines was his childhood dream. On the day he was being interviewed, his task was to test parts for strength.
“The experiment checks parts fatigue, and various resource tests are carried out. Parts are affected by different pressures and loads. We imitate the loads that exist in real service,” Ukolov said.
After all the components have passed the test, they are sent to the workshop for the final assembly and modernization of aircraft.
There, engineers create new aircraft and modernize existing ones.
“Our constructors write special programs. We get a stack of papers, that describe what we have to do: inspect, disassemble, repair defects,” senior engineer Petro Danylov said.
At the moment, 10 aircraft are being assembled at the Antonov state enterprise. All of them at the request of foreign investors.
“All that remains is the process of equipping these aircraft. It is undergoing the process of import substitution. This is a fundamental modernization of the technology, replacing Russian components with parts from Ukrainian or Western companies,” manufacturing vice president Vitaliy Chytak said.
It is also possible to learn to fly an airplane at the Antonov headquarters. Special flight simulators were developed here for the training of future pilots.
“They fly like a real aircraft. The cabin is moving, it can be struck if necessary. It is possible to project the entire flight: the landing approach, emergency situations, engine fire, chassis failure – everything that can happen during real flight,” pilot trainer Valeriy Mihunov said.
Every future pilot has to fly more than 20 hours on such a simulator before taking the control wheel and rising above the clouds.