A guy from the Lugansk region became one of the best Su-25 pilots in the Ukrainian Air Force. He died on February 7, 17 minutes after takeoff.
30-year-old Vladislav Rykov is a full holder of the Bogdan Khmelnitsky and For Courage orders and was one of the best Ukrainian attack pilots, a model for his own, a horror for the occupiers. He flew 385 combat missions, and during the last one he was shot down by a Russian missile. The tragic story of the life of the Ukrainian ace was told at the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
At the age of 6, bandits killed the whole family
Vlad was from the Lugansk region. When he was 6 years old, bandits killed his entire family. He was injured and survived. Subsequently, he had a real guardian angel, whom he would call his own father.
Vlad's father is the same guardian angel Yuri Pokusay – pilot, chairman of the Civil Air Patrol NGO Yuri Pokusay. The man took custody of the boy when he learned that he had lost all his relatives.
“My son constantly spent time with me at airfields; when I was a schoolboy, I took him for a ride on a light-engine plane. He was so excited about the sky! Then he created the Aviation Cadet Training Center for Vladik and his friends. The center is still functioning, many of today’s heroes are its students. Therefore, when the time came to choose a university, there was not even a question – only KhNUVS (Kharkiv National University of the Air Force named after I. Kozhedub – ed.) My life is closely connected with aviation, so we could discuss various professional issues for hours. And since the beginning of the large-scale invasion and “worked” side by side, my son in a combat attack aircraft, I with the civil air patrol,” said Yuri Pokusay
He added that sometimes it happened that they were launched almost simultaneously.
“Pa, did you collect all the rockets there?” – my son asked jokingly, and I was just happy at how businesslike he had grown. For some reason, I always confidently thought that everything would be fine with him. I became a father very early and, unfortunately, lost my son very early,” says Vladislav’s father.
Tried to kill almost every day
When Vladislav Rykov turned 28 years old, a full-scale war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine began. He almost immediately took the helm of the plane.
“They tried to kill him almost every day. Kharkov region, Kiev region, Donetsk region, Luhansk region, enemy fighters and air defense. The man was saved by professionalism, stress resistance and thirst for victory! The R*ists were convinced that – “Aviation no longer exists in Ukraine!” But They were deeply mistaken. Vlad confidently burned out the invaders and their equipment,” say the General Staff.
For his courage and professionalism, Vlad became a full holder of the Bogdan Khmelnitsky and For Courage orders and one of the best Ukrainian attack pilots.
He had 17 minutes to live.
30-year-old Vladislav Rykov flew 385 combat missions. The last flight was on February 7, 2024.
“It was an ordinary combat day. The morning of February 7. A typical task was to engage the enemy by fire. Analysis of the target, discussion, preparation. Everything as usual. Vlad shook hands. Departure… He had 17 minutes to live,” recalls Hero of Ukraine, Lieutenant Colonel Rostislav Lazarenko, commander of Vladislav.
He said that he was watching a pair of Ukrainian Armed Forces attack aircraft at the control point and saw an enemy fighter. The R-37 missile, which the invaders had not used for quite some time, left Vlad no chance.
“A fraction of a second. The wingman saw a rocket fly into the leader’s plane. And I saw it. Vlad didn’t have time to say anything on air. I’m convinced: it was revenge, because the day before we specifically “poured” the p*ssists. Of course, I hoped to the last, that Vlad, by some miracle, despite his low altitude, managed to eject, that he is alive, now we will take him, and then we will discuss everything together for a long time,” said Lazarenko.
He admitted that Vlad was very valuable to him and he tried to take care of him.
Vladislav had a call sign – “MAGIC”, which translated from English is “magic”. They gave it to him for his virtuosic piloting style.
“I saw him as a future commander, in case I died. He covered me – and not only in the sky, he was always there, we solved all problems together, communicated dozens of times a day. In fact, I will continue to communicate with him. Only now these will only be monologues. I often did the first combat mission after the loss of one of my brothers together with Vlad. So to speak, a “flight of honor.” This time I will have to do it on my own, like many things in life. Without Vlad we will switch to the F-16. He was one of the best students in the English language courses and dreamed of modern aircraft that could better protect Ukraine and defeat the enemy,” Lazarenko said.
Vlad is survived by his wife and little daughter Mira. The commander promises that he will always support them.
“We agreed with Vlad a long time ago that if one of us dies, the other will take care of his family. Vlad loved his girls very much, for a year and a half since the beginning of the invasion he practically did not see his family and was very upset about this. Therefore, he rented an apartment relatively close to the unit's location and finally began to hug them more often. I know his wife closely, I often played with my daughter. Now Vlad is gone and I am responsible for them, the promise must be kept,” says Vlad's commander.
Vladislav Rykov was posthumously awarded the military rank of “Colonel”. He was buried on the Walk of Fame in Vinnitsa. He never lived in this city, but dreamed of settling here after the victory.
Let us remind you that the Ukrainian Armed Forces pilot from Volyn, Vladislav, with the call sign “Volynika,” was able to avoid an enemy attack from a MANPADS in his helicopter while performing a combat mission.