The Antonov An-2 (Russian nickname: “Annushka” or “Annie“) …
… is a single-engine, biplane commercial aircraft that went into production in 1947. As in the Soviet Union, it was designed for mass production by the Antonov Design Bureau. Thousands of AN2 aircraft rolled off the assembly line until official production ceased in 1991. Until 2001, only small numbers were built from old parts stocks.
The AN2 has a remarkably long lifespan, which makes the aircraft popular with various military and civilian services around the world. The high load capacity and the ability to take off and land from all types of runways, from asphalt to sand, have also made the AN2 a popular aircraft.
The base of the AN2 was built for use as an agricultural aircraft, however numerous variants have been developed. You will find the AN2 for fighting forest fires, transporting parachutists or spraying plants. But it is also used as a transport plane or as a seaplane. The most common type, however, is the AN-2T, a 12-seat passenger aircraft. Also the type we regularly groom.
4,1 m height | 12,4 m length | Max. 258 km/h
A major advantage of the AN-2 is the lack of complex systems. It is designed for harsh conditions where every pilot must be able to carry out minor repairs himself. Due to the lack of complicated controls or motors, the chances of something breaking are much lower. A number of features make the AN2 suitable for use in inhospitable areas.
The aircraft has a pneumatic braking system to stop on short runways. In addition, the aircraft does not necessarily need electricity to start the engine. The batteries can be disassembled quite easily, which is particularly useful in cold regions.
A special fact of the AN-2 is that it can fly backwards. How is that possible?
Since the aircraft is not stalling speed, it can fly so slowly that with sufficient headwind, the aircraft will fly backwards while fully under control.
18,2 m Top Span | 14,2 m Under Span | 3.300 kg Empty Weight
There are a number of reasons why the AN-2 is no longer used by airlines. One of the reasons is the decline in production of Avgas, the type of fuel used. The age of many aircraft also plays a role. However, the AN-2 is still very popular with home owners due to its stability, reliability and the ability to fly very slowly. This is a great benefit, especially when skydiving.
1.200 L Capacity | 50 km/h Stall speed| 845 km Range
A disadvantage of using the AN-2 is its noise, high maintenance costs and fuel consumption, which make it difficult to use in Europe. Many AN-2 have therefore found a new owner in South America, Africa and Asia.
But there are still several AN2s to admire in Europe. A nice piece of Russian history.
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