Cuban Flies Soviet Crop Duster To The Everglades

Cuban Flies Soviet Crop Duster To The Everglades

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While it’s common for people to try to enter the United States in hopes of a better life, this has to be one of the more unusual attempts to enter the country…

Antonov An-2 flies from Cuba to USA

On Friday, October 21, 2022, a 29-year-old Cuban man flew an ancient Soviet-era crop duster from Cuba to the United States, presumably seeking asylum. The man has been identified as Ruben Martinez.

The man flew a single-engine 1940s Antonov An-2 crop duster from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, to Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport, in the Florida Everglades. I’ve written about this airport in the past, because at one point there were plans for this to be the world’s largest airport.

The Antonov An-2 that landed in the Everglades

Around 11:30AM on Friday, after flying 270 miles, the man radioed air traffic controllers, claiming to be low on fuel and requesting permission to land. A man who was fishing off Islamorada even captured video of this plane buzzing the water.

Upon landing at the airport, the man took a picture in front of the plane. He seemed to even have a pilot uniform on! The man allegedly used this plane for work back in Cuba, as he did fumigation.

Cuban pilot after landing at airport in Everglades

Cuban man now in custody

The man is now in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection officials, and Homeland Security is investigating the incident. Authorities are now trying to figure out how exactly he managed to fly by the Naval Air Station Key West and the Homestead Air Reserve Base without being detected.

Based on the video footage of the plane near Islamorada, it seems that he flew very low, maybe too low to be detected on radar.

I’m certainly not an expert on the US immigration and asylum process, but I would think that he’d be eligible to at least have a hearing, before being deported.

The man’s mother (who lives in Cuba) claimed she didn’t know he was planning on leaving the country, and she wasn’t detained by authorities. According to her:

“Those are decisions he made. I do not agree with them. I am from this country, I am an old lady set in my ways, but the youth make their own decisions and follow their path.”

While a lot of people try to travel from Cuba to the United States to seek asylum, it’s much more common for this to happen by boat than plane.

Regardless of how one feels about different methods of immigration, my heart hurts for someone who does something this drastic, risking their life and freedom, and also leaving their family behind without warning, possibly never being able to see them again.

Bottom line

A man flew an Antonov An-2 from Cuba to the United States, and ended up landing at the Everglades’ fascinating airport. The man evaded authorities during the flight, but was detained upon landing. I’m rooting for him to stay — after all, we have a pilot shortage, and this guy knows what he’s doing!

What do you make of this Antonov An-2 flight from Cuba to the United States?

Conversations (28)
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  1. Lieflat19 Member

    How much money are we spending on the military and homeland security??????

  2. Lieflat19 Member

    pilot most likely claimed asylum and will have a hearing

  3. Munziotti Guest

    It's so embarrassing, sadness and dangerous as well that anyone now can enter United States of America without been detect from air,land and sea ! United States is a Superpower nation. Where is the security and protection from Air,Lands and Sea from United States ? Why are the borders opening to anyone without going to the legal procedures from this nation? Are we are a country of laws? Or a country without laws?

  4. LEo Diamond

    An2 and Y-5 are quite universal, you can do pretty much anything slowly with those props, and plus, the maintenance needed is minimal as they are designed to be front field props.

  5. Juergen Guest

    Cuba at this stage sees the biggest waves of immigration towards the US than ever before, over 240.000 alone this year. Most flee via Central American states in overpriced flights. People currently sell their house to get onto such flights. It’s much more than just economic despair it’s to my assessment the pure lack of creating a happy sustainable life there. The regime is extremely nervous these days.

  6. Reagan Guest

    reminds me of the guy who in 2005 built a boat out of a 1951 Chevy truck and sailed it to Florida. These people are tenacious, daring, and obviously love the U.S. Turning them away is anti-American.

  7. Yehuda Kovesh MD Guest

    I once flew AN 2 from Baracoa, making several stops in the extreme eastern part of Cuba (including Punta Maisi). They deliver newspapers and some items to isolated communities. It was a nice scenic tour of a most beautiful part of Cuba.

  8. derek Guest

    I wonder if he had to wait for hours at that airport for someone else to be there?

  9. Marco Arida Guest

    some cross a river this one cross the ocean he is a super man for him his liberty worth more than his life we should welcome him

  10. chris Greenwell Guest

    We supposedly have the greatest military, also we have been told we need trillions for defense against the Russians they can't even beat Ukraine

  11. Eskimo Guest

    "it seems that he flew very low, maybe too low to be detected on radar."
    On civilian radar maybe, not military.

    Hard to believe no one see anything on the scope.
    Homestead might not see but there is no reason why NAS Key West couldn't.
    Unless America letting it's guards down and lets narco flights or cruise missiles come in.
    A cruise missile with nukes would take less than 10 mins to wipeout Key West.
    A supersonic one would take less than 4 mins.

    1. John Guest

      Homestead [sic]
      guards down [sic]
      NAS [sic]
      Cruise missile (?)
      Nukes (??)
      Supersonic one (???)

      This is what happens when @eskimoo has a brain-fart, combined with weak grammar. Why do you even exist??

    2. Eskimo Guest

      This is what happens when your loyal stalker turns into an auto correct with a 1st grade vocabulary brain.
      C'mon you used to be more capable than Siri.

    1. Steve Diamond

      Seems like very skilled pilot, let him stay and get him a job in the US flying planes!

  12. Ado Bo Guest

    More power to him on his attempt!...Though he landed in the wrong state with DeSantis probably blowing a gasket by now....

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      "with DeSantis probably blowing a gasket by now….”

      Being against *Cuban* immigrants who fled to the US does not get you elected to statewide office in Florida.

    2. Nick Guest

      You should run for office. Then you can try to make what is illegal, legal.

    3. EK_engineer Guest

      @Ado Bo

      I guess this means you're offering him a place to stay in your home, as well as looking after his daily needs, college education costs, and sponsoring him for a job? No??

    4. Hobbs Guest

      Republicans have long granted Cubans special status. People fleeing far left socialist governments tend lean towards the GOP in political matters.

  13. Bubba Guest

    Aye, when I go to the airport, the train passes a small grassy strip with an AN-2 in residence. Those things are big and ubiquitous. Somewhere on the web, there will be videos of a small plane crashing after a wake turbulence encounter with an AN-2.
    That's a big cropduster.
    Yeah, and I love me some Soviet design bureau action. McDonalds in the USA pioneered how to engineer a food service chain so...

    Aye, when I go to the airport, the train passes a small grassy strip with an AN-2 in residence. Those things are big and ubiquitous. Somewhere on the web, there will be videos of a small plane crashing after a wake turbulence encounter with an AN-2.
    That's a big cropduster.
    Yeah, and I love me some Soviet design bureau action. McDonalds in the USA pioneered how to engineer a food service chain so that unskilled labor could produce a consistently-performing meal. Design bureaus did that with airplanes. Look at some of those pieces up close, and their rivets area all over the place.

  14. Eric Guest

    Given that he's seeking to flee from Cuba, doesn't he have a very strong legal claim to asylum?

    1. henare Diamond

      Not directly. Cubans lost most of their preference for asylum some time ago. He'd have to. have a more specific claim (like all those folks in the southern border).

      Of course, the fact that he was able to evade NAS Key West may be just the ticket that let's him stay...

  15. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    The AN2 is an incredible airplane. While it looks like quite the anachronism (and it is) they were produced in vast numbers by the Soviets/Russians and Warsaw Pact allies for decades -- from the late 1940s right up through 2001! (in fact, I believe they are still building them in China). There are thousands of them all around the world, with many still in use. Simple, rugged, and built like a brick chithouse, they are...

    The AN2 is an incredible airplane. While it looks like quite the anachronism (and it is) they were produced in vast numbers by the Soviets/Russians and Warsaw Pact allies for decades -- from the late 1940s right up through 2001! (in fact, I believe they are still building them in China). There are thousands of them all around the world, with many still in use. Simple, rugged, and built like a brick chithouse, they are arguable one of the world's most successful aircraft designs of all time. After the fall of the USSR they became more commonly seen outside the Soviet bloc and third world countries. I've seen half a dozen of them here at a small airport in the US (including a few stacked up like cordwood with wings removed). If you visit eastern Europe you will find them still plentiful.

    In the photos here, this one doesn't look like it was set up as a cropduster - usually the spray gear is pretty elaborate. These planes were (and continue to be used) for just about anything you could imagine. Amazing aircraft.

    1. grichard Guest

      I believe you can see spray gear protruding from the end of the lower wing.

    2. george Guest

      Hello-Is the Bupkiss family related to the Gornisht clan or the Klums?

    3. LEo Diamond

      The cool about An-2 derivatives in China is it's extremely competitive cost, this thing costs less than $80K to produce...

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Dick Bupkiss Guest

The AN2 is an incredible airplane. While it looks like quite the anachronism (and it is) they were produced in vast numbers by the Soviets/Russians and Warsaw Pact allies for decades -- from the late 1940s right up through 2001! (in fact, I believe they are still building them in China). There are thousands of them all around the world, with many still in use. Simple, rugged, and built like a brick chithouse, they are arguable one of the world's most successful aircraft designs of all time. After the fall of the USSR they became more commonly seen outside the Soviet bloc and third world countries. I've seen half a dozen of them here at a small airport in the US (including a few stacked up like cordwood with wings removed). If you visit eastern Europe you will find them still plentiful. In the photos here, this one doesn't look like it was set up as a cropduster - usually the spray gear is pretty elaborate. These planes were (and continue to be used) for just about anything you could imagine. Amazing aircraft.

3
Hobbs Guest

Republicans have long granted Cubans special status. People fleeing far left socialist governments tend lean towards the GOP in political matters.

2
Never In Doubt Guest

"with DeSantis probably blowing a gasket by now….” Being against *Cuban* immigrants who fled to the US does not get you elected to statewide office in Florida.

2
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