As a birthday present, for my 21st birthday, my parents booked me a flight on the Antonov 2. Dutch "Classic Wings" had been advertising in the local paper for scenic flights over my hometown, and the adjacent cities and villages. Naturally I was very excited! In my ongoing quest to fly on as many classic aircraft as affordable, the Antonov 2 would make a great addition! It would be cool to see my hometown from the air (though not the first time) but my main reason would be to enjoy the classic plane.
On the 7th of August, just a day after I returned from my Istanbul trip, me and my dad drove the 40KM to EHTE. Upon getting there the weather was grey, but stable. I think the overcast was at 3000FT, no problem as we wouldn't even get close to that altitude. I had never been to Teuge before, but it proved to be a busy little airport. It's located in the middle of the Dutch country side, and has an asphalt runway, and multiple small aero-clubs and companies. I even spotted an Eclipse 500 jet! There's also an Ilyushin 18 there, that has been converted to a luxury hotel.
After giving my letter of reservation to a classic wings representative, we had some coffee at the airport restaurant, waiting until 11AM, the time my flight would leave. The plane was parked about 50M from the terrace, and she was just doing a runup and taxied to a parking stand in front of the terrace. She's painted in a classic Lufthansa livery, with a fake East-German registration "DM-SKL" The actual registration is D-FONL
The D-FONL starting without hesitation
Parked near the terrace
The PH-JMP, for parachute-drop flights
After everyone was accounted for, we walked to the airplane. There was a man in a wheelchair that had to be lifted on board which took some time, I used to take some pictures.
The massive ASh-62 Engine
Wings are spanned with fabric
A little something about the Antonov-2. As an incredibly successful transporter, over 18.000 have been built. It said that they are still available in China and Vietnam. It’s powered by a huge Shvetsov ASh-62, 9 cilinder radial engine. It might look small from a distance but she’s a huge plane. It is inn fact the largest, single engine prop ever built. The AN-2 will ship anything that fits trough the door. It has no defined stall speed, but it’s said to be around an incredibly low, 30knots! That’s about 55KM/H. I rode my mountain-bike faster then that! This example is built in ’57, and I think it’s built in the Antonov factory in Kiev. However if anyone can confirm/correct this please let me know. (CN/178(473)02) It was built as a cargo plane (hence the “T” for “Trahnsportno” behind the designation) and later converted for passenger use. It holds 9 pax.
After climbing the ladder, I made my way to my seat. It was a 3 row 1-2 seating, and I was in row 2. A seat facing the rear of the plane. The other passengers consisted of people from my hometown area, and were there for the good views. One lucky guy even got to sit in the cockpit’s right seat!
VFR / 07AUG10 operated by Classic Wings
Antonov 2T (Built ’57)
Photo © Joost de Wit
The mighty ASh-62 started without any troubles, and I was a little bit disappointed by the noise in the cabin. It was definitely there but not at all very loud. The startup was followed by the smell of avgas in the cabin. Upon taxiing to the runway there was a constant hissing sound of the pneumatic gear brakes, used for steering.
DHC-1 taking off
We stopped next to a Cessna at the threshold for the runway to do the runup checks. The Cessna was dwarfed by the huge Antonov! After the runup we were ready for departure.
The plane took to the skies in no time, and we gently climbed to 1000ft. The engine noise still wasn’t as much as I had hoped, but it was definitely there. And of course the necessary vibrations caused by the enormous propeller up front. Just a few minutes into flight, the DHC-1 Chipmunk I saw taking off earlier joined us, and flew parallel to us. Very cool sight!
Of course we were allowed to have a look in the cockpit, I loved seeing the big prop trough the windows. The noise was better here. I could hardly understand any of the instrument, as they were all Russian.
The unmistakable fan in the cockpit, I think every Antonov has one of these.
View over the wing
Anyone living near Amersfoort will recognize the Henschotermeer!
Unfortunately I was seated on the wrong side of the plane to see my hometown. However my mother could see me flying over our house. The other people from my town had a busy time looking out the window, so I decided not to bother them. It wouldn’t be my last flight over our house
After a while it was time for another cockpit visit. The entrance
Old LH propaganda, I think that’s the original Junkers 52 type on there!
On a nearby tank-training field, I could see a lot of tracks from the Leopard tanks. At one point they had made a perfect circle with a Y in it, the peace sign. Military humor
Another view of the wing
After about 40 minutes, we started to accelerate and descend. Looking over my shoulder I could see the airport.
After a slight bumpy landing, we rolled off the runway and into the grass, stopping at the parking spot in front of the terrace. Again accompanied by the hissing sound of the brakes. I got out of the plane, and as the new passengers were being boarded, we were allowed to do a walkaround for some extra pictures! All passengers were handed a customized “remove before flight” keychain with an embroidered image of the AN-2 on it. Very cool!
The engine and the plane are seriously huge!
There were a lot of oil remains on the lower part of the nacelle, unfortunately it’s not very good visible in the picture
I think she looks best from this angle, notice the enormous exhaust pipe
After all the people got on she was off for a second round and I filmed the take-off, but youtube isn’t agreeing with my putting it online for some reason. After we got in the car we saw her fly over the highway, and I spotted her 2 more times over my house that afternoon. Busy day for the old lady!
Whether you think the An-2 is pretty or not, you have to admit it’s an impressive plane. The huge engine and the old fashioned interior make for another great classic experience! As always the combination of the sound, vibrations, and –maybe most importantly- the smell, add to that! I’m happy to have finally logged a Soviet plane, and another classic. I’d definitely recommend it to any anetters with a passion for classics!
I hope you liked the report, and as usual, any replies are appreciated!