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Most famous biplane of 1946 gets new life

Test flight of the new Antonov An-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)
Test flight of the new Antonov AN-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)

It is probably the world’s most famous biplane. 18,000 have been built between 1946 and 2002, but today starts a new chapter in the life of the Antonov AN-2, with the AN-2-100. The modernized 70-year old model made its first flight on July 10, 2013, at the Ukrainian aircraft factory plant piloted by commander Sergii Tarasiuk and co-pilot Valerii Epanchintsev.

,,The AN-2-100 is intended for passenger, cargo and mixed cargo-passenger transportation on local airlines. It can be operated autonomously at small airfields with low sub-soil strength, including ice and snow-covered ones, in a wide altitude range, under good and adverse climatic and weather conditions”, writes a spokesperson of the Antonov aircraft company of Ukraine in a press release.

The main difference between the AN-2-100 and its predecessor is the new MC-14 turboprop engine, designed and produced by Ukrainian Motor Sich company. The new engine doesn’t need the special aviation gasoline of the old Antonov 2, but the cheaper normal aviation kerosene. The An-2-100 also has a new reversible propeller and weights in fully operational condition 200 kg less than the Annie of 1946.

Antonov will refurbish existing An-2s to the An-2-100 standard. The company identified 135 AN-2s within Ukraine alone, with only 54 aircraft still airworthy. Antonov hopes for foreign orders as well, with reportedly 1580 of them available in the Russian Federation, of which 322 still fly – mainly for agricultural purposes. 290 An-2s are being operated in Kazakhstan, 143 in Uzbekistan, 89 in Turkmenistan, 82 in Belarus, 63 in Azerbaijan, 30 in Kirgizia, 13 in Moldova and 4 in Armenia. How many Antonov An-2s are stored, displayed or fly outside the former Soviet states is unclear.

Source: Antonov Aircraft Corporation