An in-your-face view of the nose. Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

An in-your-face view of the nose. Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

Today I pay my respects to a little-known (now defunct) Ukrainian airline by honoring their wild livery and individualism. Donbassaero’s bold, in-your-face paint scheme oddly reminds me of something you might see on a 1970s muscle car like the Oldsmobile 442.

This livery and airline is extra special. You see, while the rest of the world’s airlines were trending towards boring, mostly white (read: cheap) liveries referred to as “Eurowhite,” Donbassaero did the opposite.

The in better days. Image: Maarten Visser / Flickr CC.

The airframe (UR-DAB) seen in better days. Image: Maarten Visser / Flickr CC

Yes, Donbassaero actually went from a plain-jane Eurowhite livery to this bold, orange funky paint scheme.

Let’s be honest; bucking the trend of Eurowhite adoption and going with this crazy livery certainly made Donbassaero unique. Unfortunately, it didn’t save them.

Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

According to their website, which is eerily still up and running, Donebassaero was established in 1993 and operated an all-Airbus fleet. The airline filed for bankruptcy and ceased operation on January 14, 2013.

Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

The final registration of N790JM. Photo courtesy of Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation Department

This particular bird, an A320 originally registered as UR-DAB with the airline, got its start in 1991 with Mexicana. It hopped around the world with a dozen carriers before ultimately finding its way to Jet Midwest in Kansas City, MO, where its deconstruction began.

The bird seen missing its bold black nose. Photo: JL Johnson for airlinereporter.com

The bird missing its bold black nose. Photo: JL Johnson

The entire front section of the fuselage was sliced off and will be re-purposed for a flight simulator. What’s left will be parted out to breathe new life into other planes, or simply recycled.

Resting on pallets, partially through the deconstruction process. Photo: JL Johnson for Airlinereporter.com

Resting on pallets, partially through the deconstruction process. Photo: JL Johnson

If this livery looks familiar, it’s because other versions were shared with Donbassaero’s sister carriers (which have also come under difficult financial times):  Aerosvit and Dniproavia.

It is always a bit sad to see an airliner scrapped, but kind of neat thinking that parts of UR-DAB will still be flying around the world for many years to come.

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SENIOR CORRESPONDENT - LEE'S SUMMIT, MO. JL is a self described “medium shot” at a non-aviation industry Fortune-500. He’s a semi-frequent traveler, social media addict and avid planespotter. A proud Midwesterner, he’s based in Lee’s Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. He attributes his love for all things aviation to his grandfather, a USAF Colonel who had him in “AvGeek training” before he could walk. Email: jl@airlinereporter.com

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