All Photos in this post are the property of Patrick Smith.
“Yak Hunting in Liberia” is the brilliant title of a post by Patrick Smith on the blog Ask The Pilot. Although Paul’s not referring to Tibetan pack animals in the title, he is talking about something nearly as exotic: a vintage Russian-made jet, a Yakolev Yak-40, which was used for short, regional flights across the Soviet Union and elsewhere in the world. Almost a 1,000 of the 30-seaters were manufactured in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Read his post for more details and photos, but I am reposting here as I have long seen this disused, slowly decaying aircraft, lying forlornly in the overgrowth at the edge of RIA's runway. I've never approached the aircraft, the way Paul did, but I could read the faded “Weasua Air Transport” markings along the fuselage, and knew this to be an erstwhile air operation in Liberia which only lasted until about 2006, but remains the current local service agent for Kenya Airways, KLM, and Air France. The plane clearly will never fly again, but it’s unclear what will become of its remains, or whether Weasua will revive as an airline—as Liberia currently doesn't have a national carrier.