Defector’s An-2 Crashes In Florida


The Antonov AN-2 that a Cuban defector used to fly to Florida in late October crashed near Opa Locka, Florida, on Monday, but it’s not clear who was at the controls. The two people on board were not injured when the big Soviet-era biplane landed in Everglades National Park about 15 miles west of Opa Locka and nosed over in the swamp about 1:30 p.m. According to Local10 News, the plane was on a flight from Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport to Fort Lauderdale when the pilot apparently put it down on a levee beside a canal. The aircraft departed the levee and flipped.

As we reported earlier, the An-2 was flown to Florida by a 29-year-old would-be migrant named Martinez Machado. He flew it just above the waves from Cuba before declaring a fuel emergency and landing at the airport outside of Miami. He was arrested and remains in the custody of immigration authorities. The plane is owned by Cuban government company ENSA, which does agricultural application and light cargo. The plane is likely a write-off.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Darryl Greenamyer once again loses a cold war relic while trying to recover it. After the crash he was quoted as saying ” Yeah. It was ready to go. That’s the real tragedy of it. I mean, we were so close. Success was right there. It was right there. But, this is my game, and I’d do it again.”

  2. My dad often spoke about helping to rescue refugees from the waters S of FL, floating on inner tubes or drums lashed together (or anything that would float) in the 60’s. I worked in Miami for a couple of years in the mid-70’s, worked with several Cubans, and became good friends with several. One in particular, Ray, would talk of life in Cuba. It soon became very clear as to why they would risk their very life to flee.

  3. I love those AN-2’s.

    I recall one on the ramp in Hayward years ago when I was based there. Steampunk POS in a way but utilitarian and cool.

    If America is as terrible as some would like to say why do so many people risk their lives to flee a communist utopia to come here?

    I say we give the guy a job and a visa and a beer.

    I’d like to see the big Ant resurrected.