ANTONOV Airlines’ new multipurpose aircraft, the AN−132D, took to the skies for its maiden flight, from the company’s airfield in Kiev, Ukraine.
The first prototype of the new aircraft flew for 1 hour and 50 minutes captained by ANTONOV test pilot 1st class, Victor Goncharov, accompanied by test pilot General Mohammed Ayash of the Taqnia Aeronautics Company, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, co−piloted by ANTONOV test pilot, 2nd class, Bohdan Zagoruyko. Volodymyr Nesterenko, a leading ANTONOV test flight engineer, was also on board the flight, which was escorted by a new AN−178 jet transport.
The AN−132 programme is being developed following a contract with a customer from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in close cooperation with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and the Тaqnia Aeronautics Co. Leading suppliers of the global aircraft industry are involved in the project.
The AN−132D was met by Piotr Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, and the aircraft creators at the ANTONOV Company’s flight test base. The head of the state thanked the participants of the programme and said in particular: «I am proud of my copatriots, thousands of employees of ANTONOV Company and other enterprises of Ukraine, who have worked and will do a lot to launch series production of this aircraft. But today the inportant event was happened – our aircraft rose into the sky. I saw the aircraft landing. It was well done!»
Oleksandr Kotsiuba, President of ANTONOV, congratulated colleagues and partners on the successful completion of this stage of the programme’s development.
According to him, the next important step will be the presentation of the AN−132D in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will be conducted after the completion of more aircraft tests.
In his turn Dr. Khaled Abdullah Alhussain, Director of National Aerospace Technology Center of King Abdulaziz City Science and Technology, emphasized importance of AN−132 for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He expressed confidence, that the sky of his country will meet this aircraft hospitably and will become a native for it.
The AN−132 multipurpose turboprop aircraft is intended for operation on short and medium−haul routes.
The new aircraft will perform various tasks including the transportation of raw materials, mail and other cargo, including bulk cargo, ULDs and light self−propelled and non−self−propelled vehicles weighing up to 9.2 tonnes.
The aircraft will also be deployed for emergencies, including civilian and casualty evacuation from disaster areas and airdropping paratroop rescue teams.
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