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Lead designer of Antonov An-225, world's largest aircraft, dies

Pyotr Balabuyev, former long-time chief of Ukraine’s Antonov Scientific and Technical Complex, has died in Kiev at the age of 76.

Balabuyev began working at Antonov as an engineer in 1954. After taking the helm as chief designer and successor to the bureau’s founder Oleg Antonov in 1984, he led the firm until May 2005.

In an announcement, Antonov says Balabuyev was a leader of outstanding talent and reputation in the aircraft industry. During his career he took part in designing about 100 Antonov aircraft types, including the An-22, An-72, An-74, An-32 and An-28.

He played a major role in developing the An-124 outsize freighter and its derivative An-225, which accomplished the creation of a whole family of Antonov transports.

The latest projects, carried out under his guidance, were the An-140 twin-turboprop, the An-148 regional jet and the military An-70 transport.

Two years ago, Balabuyev stepped down as Antonov chief designer because of disagreement with plans to restructure the Ukranian aircraft manufacturing sector.

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