The prototype An-2 flew for the first time on 31 August 1947 powered by a 567 kw (760 hp) Shvetsov Ash-621R engine, entering production in late 1948. The biplane layout was chosen because of its good field performance and excellent low-speed handling. Structure was of all-metal with the wings and tailplane being fabric covered. Fuel capacity was 1,200 litres (264 Imp gals). Accommodation was provided for a flight crew of two and 12 passengers in four rows of three with a centre aisle. Developments included the An-3 fitted with a 1,140 kw (1,528 shp) Glushenkov TVD-1500 turboprop, and later the 1,067 kw (1,430 shp) TVD-20 unit, but few were built with these engines.
First of the type seen in Australia was on 11 February 1970 when the Russian vessel “OB” visited Australia on the way to the Antarctic, at the time carrying two An-2s as deck cargo CCCP-44956 and CCCP-04354. This vessel also visited Wellington, NZ on the way to the Antarctic in February 1958, at the time having an An-2 on board. Later CCCP-01100 arrived during late December 1991 accompanied by seven Yak 18Ts, remaining in Australia for a couple of weeks, the eight aircraft being involved in an around-the-world flight commencing and ending in Moscow.
In October 1992 a Polish built An-2TP (SP-FAO – c/n IG23409) arrived in Australia, having been flown from Poland to Brisbane, QLD in a time of 15 days and 2 hours, arriving at Darwin, NT on 6 October 1992. Since then has been painted in a couple of colour schemes and has been seen regularly at aviation events in Queensland before being sold to an operator in Victoria. VH-CCE will return to Watts Bridge for the Brisbane Airshow in July 2021.
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