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Antonov AN-2

antonov an-2
At the weekend I flew across the frozen Baltic to Estonia with a couple of guys who were bringing back an Antonov AN-2, the world's biggest biplane. After flying into Tallinn airport and clearing customs we took off for Amari, a military airfield in the middle of nowhere. It was bitterly cold, about -10c, as we hung around the airbase which used to be home to one of the USSR's MiG squadrons but now mostly consists of empty, bunkered hangars.

The Antonov turned out to be less than manoeuvrable, however, as they attempted to taxi to the runway and slid off the apron into deep snow. It took three of us to push it out, and ten metres later it once again frustratingly turned and slid into the snow. Once more we pushed to turn it into the right direction as the pilot revved the engine, causing so much airflow from the props that we were blown off into the snow! This repeated itself over and over again until my fingers felt completely frozen and I expected to see they had black tips when I took my gloves off. Finally the aircraft made it out onto the main runway and majestically lifted off the ground after only about fifty metres.


Ok, very impressed now. See lots of AN-2's in Turkey sitting around, think Russia used them as some sort of debt payment at some stage as Turkey appears to have hundreds of them.

Time to by that kit plane then?

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