It has been a while since my last trip report, but I figured this was a really good opportunity for a new one. Last week I got a chance to fly onboard Motor-Sich Antonov An-24, one of the last ones operating scheduled passenger services in the entire World.
This was my 300th flight and a very special occasion to get on board this, almost 50 years old Antonov An-24RV, operated by Ukrainian Motor-Sich Airlines, based in Zaporozhye.
I booked my tickets just 2 days in advance since I was not sure about the type that would operate this service between Lviv (LWO) and Kiev (IEV). Airline alternates between its An-24 and An-140, both of which are really fun, beautiful, and rare aircraft. Since I already flew onboard An-140 back in 2016 from Odesa (ODS) to Kiev (IEV), I wanted to go for the other.
I arrived in Lviv a day before on a Wizz Air flight from Berlin and spent one night in this beautiful city.
So here we go. It all started at Lviv's new passenger terminal, opened in 2012, for the European Championship.
The terminal was not very busy and check-in went smoothly. Within minutes I was already at domestic gate 1, located on the 1st floor.
Gate 1, the old Soviet-era Lviv's terminal is on the right.
This Windrose's ATR 72-600 was preparing for its departure to Kiev-Boryspil
Motor-Sich uses its aircraft on OZH-IEV-LWO and back rotation, so I was very happy to see that that An-24 departed OZH early in the morning. Here she was, UR-MSI - 48 years old An-24RV. It started its life with Aeroflot's Bykovo division in 1972 and was acquired by Motor-Sich in 2001. She has been used on domestic and regional routes (full history:https://russianplanes.net/reginfo/18402). RV stands for Reaktivnyy [Uskoritel'] V, turbojet boosted export version, similar to the An-24V but fitted with a 1,985-lb thrust auxiliary turbojet engine in the starboard nacelle.
Here are some photos of the boarding, which took quite some time as only 1 person can stand on the ladder. We could take photos and move freely around the aircraft. The aircraft was parked in front of Lviv's old Soviet-era terminal, for the full experience
Simple but beautiful interior, no overhead compartments, and old Soviet-style font. This aircraft had no air conditioning, so the temperature was really high during boarding and take-off.
I was seated on window seat 9D in the back of the aircraft. There are 12 rows, for a total of 48 passengers. The last two rows were reserved for 2 additional crew members (mechanics). Unfortunately, the windows were scratched and dirty. This is the view of Lviv, just after take-off.
Cruising at just 17000ft, this was a very comfortable flight of about 1:20. The cabin temperature went down, and the aircraft was not much louder than the ATR or Dash-8 which I found very surprising.
Detail of the starboard engine.
Low cruising altitude makes it a great sightseeing opportunity of Ukrainian landscapes.
Another cabin view.
The luggage compartment is located in the tail, behind the toilet. I really liked this uniform, it also gave me this Soviet vibe.
Detail from the toilet, do not smoke!
The leg space was quite good and I would not mind taking this aircraft for a longer flight. There was food/drink service on board. We all received water and a snack (Oreo cookies and something else) which I missed while taking photos in the back.
Descending towards Kiev-Zhuliany airport.
Gears out, I think these were the most worn-out tires I have ever seen on a flying aircraft.
Kiev is developing really fast, these are the new residential areas in the outskirts.
During the flight, I have asked our flight attendant about taking a photo of the cockpit upon landing in Kiev. She was really nice and asked the pilot as soon as we landed. I was given a very short opportunity to snatch a few cockpit photos while other passengers waited on the bus, and I thank them for that. I shared my excitement with the pilot and he really liked it. He briefly commented:
Что сказать - это музей (what to say - this is a museum).
I thanked our flight attendant Olga and the rest of the crew for what was the most exciting flight I have ever taken and rushed out to catch my bus, as my fellow passengers were waiting for me.
Upon getting out of Kiev's Zhuliany airport - another An-24! This one is unfortunately permanently grounded.
Thank you for reading. I hope I was able to share at least a part of the amazing atmosphere of this old Soviet-era flight and aircraft. I really enjoyed it and I hope I will be able to take some similar flights in the future.
All the best, Toni