According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Antonov An-2 Colt’s 45-year production run is one of the longest ever for any aircraft. The plane is the workhorse of underdeveloped countries, prized for its multi-use capabilities, extraordinary slow-flight and short takeoff and landing capabilities, and its ability to handle extreme weather conditions and unimproved runways.
The An-2 is the largest single-engine biplane ever produced, in addition to its home factory in the former Soviet Union the plane has seen production runs in the Ukraine, Poland, and China. Fitted with a 1,000-horsepower 9-cylinder Shvetsov ASH-62 radial engine, the An-2 has no stall speed recorded in its operating handbook and pilots have been known to fly the biplane under full control at 30 mph. A note from the pilot’s handbook reads:
“If the engine quits in instrument conditions (blind flying when you can’t see the ground) or at night, the pilot should pull the control column full aft (it won’t stall) and keep the wings level. The leading-edge slats will snap out at about 40mph (64km/h), and when the airplane slows to a forward speed of about 25mph [40km/h], the airplane will sink at about a parachute descent rate until the aircraft hits the ground.”
In 1998, The Museum of Flight’s An-2 Antonov named Polar 1 participated in a commemorative polar flight honoring the fight originally made from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Spitsbergen, Norway in April of 1928 by Eielson and Wilkins. The Museum’s aircraft landed at the North Pole on April 13, 1998, and was donated at the completion of the return flight by owner Shane Lundgren. (Museum of Flight)
Captured by: Tosolini Productions