Antonov An-2 VH-CCE was manufactured in Poland in 1989 and was eventually purchased some years ago by the late Barry Hemple and operated out of Archerfield, Queensland (Qld) on joy flights and as an airshow performer. The An-2 was sold to the current owner Saario Holdings Pty Ltd Runcorn, Qld following Barry’s controversial death in a joy flight accident in 2008. Since 2009 the aircraft has attended many Fly-Ins and air shows as well continuing to operate joy flights throughout the country. The aircraft has in recent years been based at Caboolture Qld, however has also been based in Victoria on occasion for joy flight and air show duties.
The An-2 has a very real “presence” at an air show, as it can perform very spirited manoeuvres in the air in very tight confines. I have often witnessed VH-CCE performing seemingly impossible displays wherein it turns and rolls in extremely tight distances. The take-off and landing distances are almost beyond belief and on occasion it just appears to hang in the air. One particularly memorable location to view the aircraft is in its regular appearances at Watts Bridge Fly-Ins when its bright yellow colour scheme stands out starkly against the dark Green rugged hills and it appears to be in its wild element.
The Antanov AN-2 was developed in 1946/47 in order to replace the Po-2 aircraft in the Soviet military role. The aircraft is the largest volume produced biplane ever constructed with in excess of 18,000 units produced from 1947 up until the last 4 were constructed from spares in 2001. It was used as a utility transport and has even served as a ground attack aircraft and a crude bomber on occasion. Many remain in service to this day, mostly with private operators. The type has a reputation for reliability and ruggedness and is relatively easy to maintain. For an aircraft of its design age the AN-2 possesses some very innovative features such as its pneumatic suspension, STOL characteristics and a 170 meter take off run.
The An-2 can fly as slow as 30MPH and in a headwind can actually fly backwards. In 2013, contracts were announced to refurbish huge numbers of survivors of the type in former Eastern Bloc countries as the type is seen as being so utilitarian in effect it has no replacement.
Antonov An-2 – General Characteristics
- Crew: 1–2
- Capacity: 12 passengers
- Length: 12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)
- Upper wing: 18.2 m (59 ft 8 in)
- Lower wing: 14.2 m (46 ft 9 in))
- Height: 4.1 m (13 ft)
- Wing area: 71.52 m² (769.8 ft²)
- Empty weight: 3,300 kg (7,300 lb)
- Loaded weight: 5,500 kg (12,000 lb)
- Useful load: 2,140 kg (4,700 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Shvetsov ASh-62IR 9-cylinder supercharged radial engine, 750 kW (1,000 hp)
- Maximum speed: 258 km/h (139 kn, 160 mph)
- Cruise speed: 190 km/h (100 kn, 120 mph)
- Stall speed: ~50 km/h (26 knots, 30 mph)
- Range: 845 km (456 nmi, 525 mi)
- Service ceiling: 4,500 m (14,750 ft)
- Rate of climb: 3.5 m/s (700 ft/min)
- Power/mass: 0.136 kW/kg (0.083 hp/lb)
It is a great Warbird for its design as a Military aircraft, its military history and its big radial sound.
I recommend that if you are at an airshow and the AN-2 takes to the air then that is NOT the time to take a break as you will miss one of the real thrills of your aviation life. It is simply awesome!
For an overseas restoration of an Antanov An-2 see the efforts our friends at Antonov AN 2 Luxembourg.
© John Parker 2014