AN-2: an airplane over which time has no power

It seems incredible that, having worked in the sky for almost 70 years, the AN-2 is in no hurry to become a museum exhibit. But he made his first flight back in 1947.

Even then, next to the first jet aircraft, it looked archaic, but its creator, Oleg Antonov, endowed it with a unique ability to take off and land where his other brothers helplessly spread their wings. The pilots who have linked their lives with the AN-2 joke that it can, if necessary, fly backwards.

Initially, the AN-2 was intended for the protection of forests, agricultural work and passenger transportation. A single-engine biplane is capable of taking on board up to 12 passengers and a little over a ton of cargo. Any flat unpaved area can serve as an airfield. The Soviet aviation industry produced more than 19 thousand AN-2. Until 1991, it was produced by Poland, and in China the aircraft continues to be produced to this day.

Bernie Leighton, a well-known writer writing about aviation, after a flight on the AN-2 in Belarus, rightly remarked: "If you need to transport 10 soldiers or goats from any piece of land, then either an AN-2 or a helicopter is suitable for this."

Indeed, the plane has minimal comfort. It is in the full sense of the word, a heavenly workhorse. The biplane design gives it a lot of lift during a short take-off run. The AN-2 is perfectly controlled even at a speed of 40 km / h. For comparison, the famous Cessna starts to roll at 80 km / h.

The secret of this incredible survivability lies in the special design of the wings and flaps, which can be used to regulate the lift and reduce the flight speed. Even if the engine suddenly stops, the pilot's main problem will be finding a suitable landing site.