Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Antonov AN-2 Biplanes in Uzbekistan

The Special Aviation Services (SAS) was founded in 1997, initially as an arm of the national carrier Uzbekistan Airways. At present, SAS has its own air operator certificate and a document entitling it to provide MRO services, both issued by the Uzbek aviation authority. The fleet mostly comprises of Antonov An-2 biplanes and Mil Mil-8 Helicopters. In 2016 they still had 65 of AN-2 based at Nukus (Karakalpakstan), Urgench (Khorezm Region), and at Sergeli (Tashkent).  An-2s are primarily used in agriculture as crop dusters, fertilizers, and cotton defoliators and aerial mapping and more recently for tourism where passenger configured An-2Ts are used for transporting tourists to the country’s recreational destinations, including to the Aral Sea. MRO services are undertaken by Uzbekistan Airways Technics. The biplanes’ Ash-62IR engines and AV-2 propellers are overhauled in Russia, mainly at the Moscow-based DOSAAF aviation repair plant who are Antanov specialists.

The An-2 is the largest single-engine biplane ever produced.Designed as a utility aircraft tis a  multi-purpose aircraft used mainly in agricultural and commercial sectors. it was developed by Oleg Antonov, who had been an aircraft designer during the World War II. He formed his own bureau for creating multi-purpose planes, which were originally designed for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the former Soviet Union.

The first prototype was  flown on the August 31, 1947. It is recorded in “Guinness Book” for its 45 year production run, the longest ever for any aircraft in the world. Since 1947 some 18,500 AN-2 biplanes have been produced. It is still in service around the world, CIS countries and Eastern Europe, China, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Africa. They require relatively low levels of maintenance and in addition are straightforward to fly. According to accident statistics AN-2 is one of the safest aircraft ever produced.


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