Little Annie – Antonov-2 (An-2) Biplane – From Russia with Love


On 5 December 2012 the Antonov-2 (An-2) airplane will depart from Plekhanovo airfield (Tyumen) to perform a unique flight to South Africa (SA) within “From ocean to ocean” project.

The flight, unmatched in terms of distance and duration (for this type of aircraft), is going to take at least 15 days, and will go from Russia via Ukraine, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo. Angola, Namibia to the South Africa. During this time the symbol of Soviet civil aviation – An-2 airplane – will cover more than 20 000 km.

What will the airplane be used for in Africa?

UTair Aviation is transferring the An-2 airplane to perform charity work in Africa. The charity mission involving the Russian “Annushka” is called “Just Love” and is based on the idea that everybody loves aviation, but not everybody has the opportunity to fly. The An-2 airplane is going to perform demonstration flights for orphan children. The kids will experience vivid and joyful sensations, which they will share with others.

The aircraft will be operated by one of the world’s largest business aviation operators – ExecuJet Aviation Group having its subsidiary operating in South Africa. It is Mark Hill who will be the pilot to fly this airplane and perform charity missions. The An-2 will be based in Pretoria (SA).

About the Airplane

The airplane was manufactured in Poland on 3 September 1987 and designed to carry 1600 kg cargo or 12 passengers. At first it was a part of Barnaul United Air Group, then (from 1999 to 2006) – of Regional State Unitary Enterprise “Altai Airlines”. Starting from 2006 the An-2 had been operated by UTair-Cargo CJSC. This airplane has flown 4675 hours, performed 5599 landings and undergone scheduled repair three times.

An-2: History Facts

The famous “Annushka”, designed by Antonov Design Bureau, was first launched into the sky in Novosibirsk on 31 August 1947. An-2 represents a whole era in the history of our native civil aviation; it deserves to be called the pioneer in the numerous “Antonov” aircraft family. It is the only aircraft in the world which has been produced for more than half a century, and that is why it was entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the most popular aircraft in the world. In total more than 20 000 airplanes has been produced. Some of its modifications are still produced nowadays.

Easy to operate and suitable for the use on unprepared unpaved runways this airplane was indispensable for flights in the underdeveloped areas in Siberia, Far North and Central Asia. In Tyumen the An-2 airplanes first appeared in 1951 and for decades they remained irreplaceable in the region. In 1967 120 Annushka aircraft were operated in Salekhard, Surgut, Berezovo, Tobolsk and other northern airfields. The airplanes were used to support expeditions, fish processing plants and to carry passengers, food supplies and other goods. In the North the An-2 airplanes were used to deal with gnats, by spraying chemicals over oil and gas fields.

Today this unique, almost indispensable aircraft is still operated by UTair’s subsidiary – UTair-Cargo CJSC.


  • Sergey Bykov
  • Sergey Dmitrenko
  • Alexander Achimov
  • Tracey Curtis-Taylor
  • Mark Hill


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