A Tu-128 at the Central Aviation Museum of Russia. Photo - Maarten Dirkse

A Tu-128 at the Central Aviation Museum of Russia – Photo: Maarten Dirkse

Before I get into the aircraft I want to discuss today, there is an important matter of Soviet Military organization that I see misconstrued often. During the Soviet times, the VVS (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily or Military Air Force) was not responsible for matters of air defense.

This was the auspice of the PVO, sometimes also abbreviated as V-PVO (or sometimes PVO strany). PVO is a Russian abbreviation that literal translates to anti-air defense; strany is Russian for country (sometimes nation). So PVO strany was responsible for the anti-air defense of the nation. They were considered the third-most important branch of the Soviet Armed Forces (behind the RVSN and Ground Forces). While the PVO was merged into the VVS in 1998, their legacy lives on; Air Defense Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of every April.

This, if it was not obvious yet, is a story about an aircraft that served with the PVO. Some would say, the most unusual of them as well.

Caption

A TransAsia ATR crashes – Photo: @Missxoxo168

UPDATE 2/4/15 7:00AM PST: The Associated Press is reporting that the death toll from the accident has risen to 25, with 18 people still unaccounted for.  Per civil aviation authorities in Taiwan, the pilot had logged nearly 5,000 flight hours.  The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder (“Black Boxes”) have been recovered, which should assist authorities in determining the cause(s) of the crash.

ORIGINAL STORY: 

TransAsia Flight 235 (GE235), an ATR72-600, has crashed during takeoff while en route from Taipei Sung Shan (TSA) to Kinmen Shang-Yi Airport (KNH), in the Fujian Province. The aircraft, reg# B-22816, was only 10 months old at the time of the crash.

Rescuers and passengers can be seen on the bank with the TransAsia ATR72 in the background - Photo: Yung Jen

Rescuers and passengers can be seen on the bank with the TransAsia ATR72 in the background – Photo: Yung Jen

Video and photos show the aircraft at a steep angle flying over an overpass and then into the Keelung River. At the time of this update, there have been three reported passenger deaths with another few injured.

Getting ready to fly - Photo: Zachary Azzarito

Getting ready to fly – Photo: Zachary Azzarito

College, as they say, is the best four years of your life. You make life-long friends, discover what career you want to pursue, and obtain valuable leadership skills and experience through clubs and organizations. More often than not, it’s your first time out on your own. About the only thing that makes it better is when some of your classes are taught in a cockpit.

Flying is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, and the single best major out there in my opinion. Most students study in the classroom, learning the material from books and real-world examples. However, it’s not often that you get hands-on experience; maybe for a semester or two during an internship. For aviation students, we get to do it every semester, several times a week. The airport becomes as familiar as our classroom.

So where did it all start for me? I grew up in the Tallahassee, Florida area. There were several times when my dad would take me out to the airport and we would watch the planes take-off and land. So, ever since I was a young kid, flying has been an interest of mine. However, like a lot of kids, I wanted to be just about everything from a fireman, to a pilot, to a professional athlete.

"Mriya on short final in Ostrava Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter "

Mriya on short final in Ostrava – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

There are many items still left on my AvGeek bucket list, but last week I was fortunate enough to cross a pretty BIG one off.

I was very excited to be invited to witness the arrival of the world’s largest aircraft ever produced, the mighty Antonov An-225. Nicknamed “Mriya”, which is the Ukranian word for dream. The aircraft first flew in 1988 and is the only plane of its kind in service today. There was a second model built to about 70% completion, but due to funding problems it remains in a desolate state in Kiev.

"Touchdown!! The whole landing sequence seemed very slow motion due to the aircraft size Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter "

Touchdown!! The whole landing sequence seemed very slow-motion due to the aircraft size – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The original mission scope of the aircraft was to carry the soviet spacecraft Buran, much like the American version of the 747-based Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the aircraft remained in storage for almost a decade before it was brought back into operational service as a cargo air-lifter, operated by Antonov Airlines. Mriya is primarily based in Kiev, Ukraine but has completed various missions all around the world.