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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Antonov An-2: Utilitarian workhorse
Antonov An-2
Functional but reliable design
The Antonov An-2 biplane which has crashed in the Gulf of Mexico is well-known as a reliable workhorse.

Designed in the Soviet Union in 1947, the aircraft has been in service for more than 50 years as a light commuter transport plane.

Its functional design, with its cloth wings and metal body, is reminiscent of another era in aviation.

The Antonov An-2 normally has a two crew members and can handle 14 passengers, with a cruise speed of 90 knots.

The short take-off and landing abilities of the the An-2 means it can operate at fields accessible only for light aircraft.

Still in service

More than 5,000 were built in Russia by 1960. Since 1960, few dozen modified An-2M were built in the USSR.

Since then, production continued under license in China and Poland.

About 300 are still in service with Russian Air Force, mostly for parachute training.

Many more examples are in service in in agriculture, forestry and transportation due to the aircraft's reputation as a utilitarian and reliable plane.

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See also:

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