(Variants/Other Names: Fongshu 2
("Harvester 2"); Harbin Y-5
(Photo courtesy of Hax Haynes -
The An-2 Colt has been used as a
paratroop transport, glider tug, navigation trainer, utility transport and light bomber.
Despite being a versatile and adaptable machine, the large, fabric-covered An-2 biplane
remains firmly rooted in much earlier days of aviation.
The An-2 prototype was first flown on August 31, 1947, and the
aircraft is still in production, although the Antonov Bureau has not produced any since
1960. The An-2s designer, Oleg Antonov, had been an aircraft designer during the Second
World War. He then formed his own bureau with the intention of creating an aircraft
capable of almost any task. He succeeded. Originally designed for the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry in the former Soviet Union, the aircraft was soon adopted by the
Soviet Air Force and built for its client states. It is ideally suited to less developed
countries because it requires little maintenance and is easy to fly.
The An-2's admittedly-antiquated design gives it extremely
short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities. This is partly achieved not only by the
high-lift double wings, but by the use of the drooping ailerons which can be lowered 20
degrees to compliment the flaps. The wings are covered in fabric aft of the front spar and
the tailplane is also covered with fabric, making field repairs easy. It has a crew of two
in a heated crew compartment and a single bay running the length of the aircraft.
More than 12,000 Colts have been produced at the PZL Mielec
plant in Poland since it signed a licensing deal in 1960. The Antonov plant in Kiev
produced 5,000 before it stopped production in 1965. The design was also licensed to
China, where 1,500 were completed as the Harbin Y-5 transport
airplane between 1957 and 1970, and more were produced as the Fongshu 2.
The An-2 is still in service with over 30 air forces and has been used by Aeroflot and
other eastern airlines. With the collapse of the USSR over a decade ago, a small
number of An-2s have begun to appear on the civilian rosters in Europe and the United
States, although the type is difficult to register in the United States due
to regulatory issues.
Nicknames: Annushka ("Little
Annie"); Big Ant; Colt (NATO code name; Kukuruznick
Engine: One 1,000-hp Shvetsov ASh-62IR radial piston engine
Weight: Empty 7605 lbs., Max
Takeoff 12,125 lbs.
Wing Span: 59ft. 7.75in.(Upper), 46ft.
Length: 41ft. 9.5in.
Height: 13ft. 1.5in.
Maximum Speed at
5,700 ft: 160 mph
Speed: 115 mph
Range: 560 miles
with 1,100-pound payload
Number Built: 20,000+
Number Still Airworthy: Unknown, but
believed to be at least 2,000. Approximately 5 are flown as warbirds in the
USA and Europe.
"Antonov An-2 Owners and Friends" site
Bosch Aerospace An-2 Research Page
Kiwi Aircraft Images' An-2
Lithuanian company specializing in repair and service of An-2s.
Antonov An-2: Annushka,
Maid of All Work
(Red Star Vol. 15)
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