The Aviation Portal

Antonov An-2: A Soviet Biplane Utility/Agricultural Aircraft
The Antonov An-2 is a single-engine biplane utility/agricultural aircraft that was designed and built in the Soviet Union from 1947 to 1991. It was also produced under license in Poland, China, and North Korea. It had a NATO reporting name of Colt.

Design and Development
The Antonov An-2 was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau under the leadership of Oleg Antonov. It was intended to replace the older Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, which was used for various purposes such as crop dusting, passenger transport, and liaison. The An-2 was designed to be simple, robust, and versatile, capable of operating from unprepared fields and in harsh weather conditions.

The An-2 had a metal frame covered with fabric, except for the nose, which was made of plywood. It had a Shvetsov ASh-62 radial engine that gave it a maximum speed of 258 km/h and a range of 845 km. It had a crew of two, including a pilot and a co-pilot or mechanic, and could carry up to 12 passengers or 1,500 kg of cargo. It had a wingspan of 18.18 m, a length of 12.4 m, and a height of 4.1 m.

The An-2 made its first flight on August 31, 1947, piloted by Pavel Volodin. It underwent extensive testing and modifications before entering service with Aeroflot in 1950. It received its type certificate in 1953 and was displayed at the Paris Air Show in 1957.

Operational History
The An-2 was widely used by various operators in the Soviet Union and its allies, as well as in some non-aligned countries. It served as a multipurpose aircraft, performing tasks such as crop dusting, firefighting, aerial photography, skydiving, medical evacuation, humanitarian aid, and polar exploration. It also served as a military aircraft, performing roles such as reconnaissance, transport, liaison, paratroop drop, and psychological warfare.

The An-2 was also exported to many countries around the world, such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Libya, Mongolia, Nicaragua, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Some of them were involved in conflicts such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Ogaden War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the Angolan Civil War, and the Yugoslav Wars.

The An-2 was also produced under license by other countries. Poland produced more than 12,000 An-2s under the name PZL-Mielec An-2 between 1960 and 2001. China produced more than 900 An-2s under the name Shijiazhuang Y-5 between 1965 and 1979. North Korea produced some An-2s under the name Chonma-ho between 1978 and 1984.

The An-2 is still in service with some operators today. According to some estimates, there are more than 5,000 An-2s still flying around the world. Some of them have been modified or upgraded with new engines or avionics. Some of them are used for recreational or historical purposes.

The Antonov An-2 is one of the most successful Soviet aircraft and one of the most produced biplanes in history. It has been praised for its reliability, durability, and adaptability to various environments and missions. It has also been criticized for its high fuel consumption and noise level.

The An-2 has set several world records for speed, altitude, payload, and endurance. It has also been featured in several films and books. It has been nicknamed by various names such as “kukuruznik” (corn crop duster), “annushka” (diminutive of Anna), “colt” (NATO reporting name), “auntie annie” (British nickname), “flying tractor” (Polish nickname), “flying cow” (Chinese nickname)


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–2
  • Capacity: 12 passengers / 2,140 kg (4,718 lb)
  • Length: 12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)
  • Upper wingspan: 18.2 m (59 ft 9 in)
  • Lower wingspan: 14.2 m (46 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4.1 m (13 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 71.52 m2 (769.8 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: TsAGI R-11 (14%)
  • Empty weight: 3,300 kg (7,275 lb)
  • Gross weight: 5,440 kg (11,993 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 1,200 L (320 US gal; 260 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Shvetsov ASh-62IR 9-cylinder air-cooled supercharged radial piston engine, 750 kW (1,010 hp)
  • Propellers: 4-bladed constant-speed propeller


  • Maximum speed: 258 km/h (160 mph, 139 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 190 km/h (120 mph, 100 kn)
  • Stall speed: 50 km/h (31 mph, 27 kn) circa
  • Range: 845 km (525 mi, 456 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 4,500 m (14,800 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 3.5 m/s (690 ft/min)
  • Power/mass: 0.136 kW/kg (0.083 hp/lb)
  • Fuel consumption: 185–200 L/h (49–53 gal/h; 41–44 imp gal/h)


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