Category An Illustrated History of the World’s Largest Airline


As with previous books in this series, Machat’s Law has been a constant and often unwelcome companion. The Law states (as some readers will know) that for any single type of airlin­er, no two individual aircraft are painted exactly the same; and very few carry their original paint scheme for the whole of their lives.

In recent years, Aeroflot’s enormous fleet of front-line air­craft — I exclude the feeder types, whose color schemes are legion — have carried more or less standardized markings. But this was not the case in years gone by, when Soviet aircraft design bureaux seemed to delight in individualism. Dozens of lettering styles were used for the word AEROFLOT, and I have identified a host of different versions of the airline’s logo. Fortunately (and unlike its U. S. counterpart) the Soviet flag remained constant.

In the size comparisons, I have used the Ilyushin 11-86, Aeroflot’s largest wide-bodied aircraft, roughly comparable with the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. — Mike Machat.

Dobrolet’s First

An Infant Aircraft Industry

Vladimir Lenin did not live to see the outcome of some of the policies that he had instigated. He died on 21 January 1924, and only a few days later, on 1 February, the British Government recognized Soviet Russia, the first foreign power to do so, excluding Germany, which had done so earlier. Simultaneously with the easing of tension overseas, the Russian industry, which had been laying dormant during the political upheaval and economic disruption caused by the Revolution, began to revive.

The aircraft manufacturing plants stirred into life. At Fili, in Moscow, the German Junkers company started a small pro­duction line of the sturdy metal-built F 13, (known as the Ju 13 in Russia) and deliveries began to Dobrolet in 1924. At least 24 aircraft are believed to have been completed. For sev­eral years, reports of Ju 13s performing various services all across the Soviet Union included, in addition to inaugurating new routes, demonstrations of the benefits of air travel to the amazed citizenry of remote lands, and joyrides for workers who had shown special talents in exceeding their assigned quotas.

Also, the TsAGI (see page 12), under the direction of V. L. Alexandrov and V. V. Kalinin, completed, on 8 March 1924, the first test flight of the first successful transport air­craft to be designed and built entirely in the Soviet Union (also see page ’12). The AK-1 (AK for Alexandrov-Kalinin) could carry three passengers and attained 146km/h (90mph). It was a start, and on 15 June 1924, the AK-1 was assigned to Dobrolet’s Moscow-Nizhne Novgorod – Kazan route.

Reference has already been made (page 16) to the activi­ty of K. A. Kalinin, the designer working in conjunction with Dornier in Kiev. On 20 April 1925, a series of govern­ment-supervised experimental flights was completed with the K-l, Kalinin’s first design. Back at TsAGI, A. N. Tupolev had become head of the organization which had an experimental laboratory, and was building engines and aircraft, including the all-metal ANT-2, able to carry two passengers.

Then on 20 August 1925, an improved version, the ANT-3, was flown. Tupolev was proceeding cautiously. This aircraft weighed only 2,100kg (9601b) but it flew at 201km/h (125mph), and was considered a worthy enough product to carry the Soviet flag overseas (see opposite page). Tupolev was on a roll. On 26 November 1925, the ANT-4 took to the air; and more designs were to come.

In Central Asia

On 1 May 1924 — possibly to coincide with the May Day cel­ebrations, and also as a practical measure to demonstrate the benefits of rule from Moscow, Dobrolet began to operate scheduled services in the area formerly under the Tsarist gov­ernor-generalship of Turkestan. The Soviet Government had replaced this, by setting up several Peoples’ Republics in 1921 to supplant the khanates of Khiva and Bukhara; and by 1925 the new republics of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tadjikistan, and Kirghizia were formally incorporated into the U. S.S. R.

Most probably with Junkers Ju 13s, Dobrolet opened a route from Khiva to Dushanbe, via Bukhara. While hardly operating with clockwork regularity and punctuality, it was reasonably successful, as the alternative land transport was by horse or camel. There were also boats on the Amu Darya river, but these were often left stranded when the river shifted course.

At the end of their epic flight from the U. S.S. R. to the U. S.A. in 1929 the Soviet crew was welcomed by the Mayor of Oakland. Left to right: the helmeted Sterligov, Shestakov, the Mayor, Bolatov, and Fnfayev. (photo: Eugene Altunin)

Turboprop Workhorse

Turboprop WorkhorseTurboprop Workhorse

Ilyushin Keeps Pace

Believing that the turbopropeller solution to turbine-engined power was a good alternative to that of the pure jet, the British and American manufacturers had persevered with dif­ferent designs. Following the successful four-engined (but only medium-range) Vickers Viscount of 1952, the Bristol company in England had developed the Britannia, a long-range four – engined airliner that, but for slow production and unforeseen engine problems, would have gone into service in 1956. Even so, by 1957, the Britannias were making their mark around the world. In the United States, Lockheed produced the Model 188 Electra, a smaller but efficient aircraft designed primarily for U. S. domestic inter-city routes, but not with full transcon­tinental range. Quickly brought into service early in 1959 — too quickly perhaps — the Electra had severe problems with the engine installation, and came close to being grounded because of fatal accidents soon after entering service.

Coinciding with the announcement of the Sixth Five-Year Plan, which once again emphasized the need to increase air travel on all fronts, Sergei Ilyushin and his team produced a Soviet four-engined turboprop which, as the table on the opposite page shows, fell in between the Britannia and the

This dramatic picture of an Ilyushin 11-18 was taken at Tiksi, on the Arctic coast of northern Siberia, in 1960, during the long polar night, as it was being serviced, (photo: Boris Vdovienko)

Two great aircraft designers, Andrei Tupolev (left) and Sergei Ilyushin (right) photographed informally in 1963. (Vdovienko)

Electra in performance and size. In outward appearance, all three aircraft looked somewhat similar.

Solid Performance

The Ilyushin 11-18 — at first called the Moskva — went into Aeroflot service on 20 April 1959, on the Moscow-Adler route, to provide needed extra capacity for Muskovite vaca­tioners seeking the sun. Simultaneously, it started a non-stop route from Moscow to Alma Ata, the fast-growing capital of Kazakhstan. A direct Leningrad-Adler service, begun on 23 May, helped the citizens of Russia’s former capital to enjoy
the sun too; and on 20 June, the 11-18 reached Alma Ata by a circuitous route via Baku and Tashkent, the capitals of oil-rich Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, respectively.

The PaSar Mainlisier

Reference has already been made to the expansion of Aeroflot’s horizons in 1960 by its taking over Aviaarktika (page 47), so that it could now study the potential for route expansion on a broad front north of the Trans-Siberian Railway. While Ilyushin had a set-back on 17 August of that year, when an 11-18 crashed near Kiev, another 11-18 made a proving flight on a new trans-Siberian route, by the great cir­cle itinerary (as did also an Antonov An-10) and on 10 January 1961, opened regular service to Magadan, via the Arctic Sea port of Tiksi. Nine months later, another branch brought Anadyr, in remote Chukotka, within only eleven hours journey time of Moscow, eleven time zones away.

The Ilyushin 11-18 quickly established a reputation as a reliable, if not record-breaking airliner. It seemed to be at home in frigid climates of the northlands, and soon it was to experience an even more formidable challenge. For on 15 December 1961, it was selected to make the first flight by a commercial airliner to the Last Continent, Antarctica. For such a journey, extra tankage was provided, but later on, with growing maturity, a long-range version of the turboprop, the Ilyushin I1-18B, became almost standard equipment.

Mark Shevelev, the head of Polar Aviation, responsible for the pio­neering development by air of vast areas of northern Russia, greets Sergei Ilyushin (right), one of the aircraft designers who made his work possible, (photo: Boris Vdovienko)

Turboprop Workhorse

Turboprop Workhorse

Ivchenko AI-20M (4×4, 250ehp) Ш MTOW 61,200kg (135,001b) Ш Normal Range 4,425km (2,750mi)





Aircraft Type











Normal Range ism (mi)







19 Dec 19571


Britannia 310









B. O.A. C.


12 Jan 1959

Lockheed 188 Electra












20 Apr 1959

Ilyushin 11-18











Notes: 1The medium-range Britannia 102 entered service on 1 Feb 1957. 2The long-range Ilyushin II-18D had a MTOW of 64,000kg (141,0001b) and a range of6,500km 14,000mi). ^All Britannias including 100 Series.


Comparison with 00-86

LENGTH 53m (174ft) SPAN 43m (142ft)


Turboprop Workhorse

Il-18s still serve in a variety of roles today. This modified aircraft (SSSR-7S449) surveys the extent of the polar ice pack from its Moscow-Sheremetyevo base.

(photo: Patrick Vinot-Prefontaine)


Sergei Ilyushin.


Turboprop WorkhorseTurboprop WorkhorseTurboprop Workhorse

The Last Continent

A Very Special Flight

In the interests of time and economy of effort in delivering supplies to the Arctic Expeditions, and in spite of the now reg­ular annual trips by the Ilyushin 18Ds, a decision was made in 1985 to use a bigger aircraft, a real heavy lifter, the Ilyushin 76TD, weighing in at a 190,000kg (420,0001b) — say 200 tons at take-off — and able to carry a 50-ton payload over a dis­tance of 3,650km (2,270mi). Already equipped as a specialized freighter, with winches and ramps, and able to use the so-called unprepared strips, i. e. without concrete or paving, the one destined to make this historic trip was fitted with 90 seats, plus kitchen, medical, and life-saving equip­ment. On 18 February 1986, the I1-76TD took off from Moscow, and flew by a slightly different African route direct to Novolazarevskaya, then to Molodezhnaya, and arrived back home on 4 March 1986.

And Very Special Landings

While the thickness of the ice that formed the runway at Novolazerevskaya may not have reached the astonishing proportions of Vostok (see opposite page), it was, however, a slick surface, and all of the 3,000 meters (10,000ft, or almost two miles) length was needed for the I1-76TD to slow to a stop after touching down. Molodezhnaya, on the other hand, presented a different problem. The runway was long enough, again 3,000 meters; and wide enough — 90 meters (300ft). But the composition of the runway was not of ice; it was of snow, 82 meters thick. When properly pre­pared this was all right for most aircraft; but the Ilyushin II- 76 weighed 200 tons.

Подпись: (Left) Thell-76TD unloads at Molodezhnaya, Antarctica. (All: Vasily Karpy)The Last ContinentПодпись:Подпись:The Last ContinentПодпись: AEROFLOT’S ACCESS TO THE ANTARCTIC Подпись:Подпись:The Last ContinentThe Last ContinentThe ground staff at Molodezhnaya must have heard the story of the English gardener who, when asked by an American tourist how he had produced such a perfect lawn, suggested that it may have been the result of mow­ing it once a week, and rolling it once a week… for 500 years. Overcoming difficulties of alternate melting during long summer days of unbroken sunshine and crusting of surfaces with repeated freezing, the ground staff rolled and rolled and rolled the runway… for a whole year. The 11-76 landed and took off successfully.

The Last Continent The Last Continent
Подпись: I

The Last ContinentПодпись:The Last Continent

Antonovs Everywhere

Not content with providing normal air service to small com­munities, supporting the Arctic ice stations, surveying fishing grounds, agricultural work of all kinds, supporting railroad construction, and laying out oil-pipe lines, the Antonov An-2 demonstrated its almost unlimited flexibility and versa­tility by being a school bus in places where wheeled vehicles did not dare to venture.

In this picture-essay — once again the product of Boris Vdovienko’s peripatetic camera — an An-2V is seen at the tiny community of Laboroveya, in the Poluostrov Yamal (the Yamal Peninsula), just north of the Arctic Circle in northwest­ern Siberia. Invited by the Aeroflot pilot from their ‘yaranga’ houses in the treeless tundra, the children are taken to the secondary school at Katrovozh, near Salekhard, the ‘big city’ of the Yamal Nenets Autonomous District.

The Last Continent

On board the An-2, the children appear somewhat apprehensive at the prospect of attending school at Katrovozh, near the ‘big city’ of Salekhard.

The Last Continent

Anna Maximovna, teacher of the secondary’ school at Katrovozh, near Salekhard, keeps a watchful eye on the children en route to start the term. (All photos: Boris Vdovienko)

(Top) Summer homes in the Yamal Nenets district of northwestern Siberia. The tents, of slender tree trunks and animal skins, are called yaranga. Normal transport, even in the unfrozen brief sum­mer, is by sled, but the ubiquitous Antonov An-2, seen here to the right, has added a new dimension to travel.

(Bottom) Children from the Yamal Nenets village ofLaborovaya are shipped out to the await­ing Antonov An-2V, to attend secondary school.

Into The Nineties

Подпись: 11ІІМІШІШІШІШInto The NinetiesInto The NinetiesПодпись: The twin-turbofan 200-seat Tu-204 first flew on 2 January 1989. Initial versions have Soloviei' PS-90ATs, a Rolls-Royce RB211-535E4-powered variant first flew on 14 August 1992. Its sponsor, BRA VIA (British Russian Aviation Co), expects CIS certification (with CIS-built avionics) by the end of 1993 and international certification with Western avionics in mid-1995.Into The NinetiesПодпись:Подпись:Into The NinetiesПодпись:Metamorphosis

After Mikhail Gorbachev launched the policies of glasnost and perestroika in the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union was never the same again. The fires of communist revolutionary spirit, long dampened, were extinguished as the smoldering embers of independence broke into flames when Boris Yeltsin led the final overthrow of communist power in 1991. In the capi­tals of the autonomous republics, political and social instincts combined to proclaim regional identities and to break away from the perceived domination of centralized Moscow con­trol. But in a country that stretched almost halfway around the earth, complete balkanization would have led to chaos, and recognizing practical and economic realities, eleven of the states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U. S.S. R.) were proclaimed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on 22 December 1991.

Problems of Fragmentation

The three Baltic republics had already reclaimed their inde­pendence. The remaining twelve states came to grips with the challenge to replace a 70-year-old economic system. The 29 local regions (other than the four Moscow entities and the three Baltics of Aeroflot) took steps to go their own way.

The sheer magnitude of sharing out some 11,000 aircraft and more than 600,000 staff was an awesome prospect. Nevertheless, aircraft, ground installations, airfields and air­ports, navigational services, and personnel of the old Aeroflot giant would be reidentified with the new regional airlines, with the transfers amounting almost literally to no more than the signing of documents. At the time of the publication of this book, however, only a handful of aircraft have been paint­ed in the new color schemes of the independent companies.

The New Aeroflot

Even before the creation of the CIS, the decision was made in Moscow that the Aeroflot name should remain as that of the official flag carrier of Russia’s international air routes. Effectively, it simply adopted the fleet of Sheremetyevo II, Moscow’s main international airport, formerly one of the 36 regional subdivisions. Of the 103 aircraft, 28 were long-range Ilyushin ll-62s and 18 were Ilyushin 11-86 Airbuses

The new Russian International Airlines was no longer inhibited by an obligation to operate only Soviet-built air­craft, although Aeroflot Soviet Airlines remained as the legal name until 23 July 1992. As described on page 93, it leased a small fleet of Airbus A310s. A new era had begun.


This book is designed according to the successful formula set by its predecessor volumes on Pan American World Airways, Lufthansa, and Delta Air Lines. The same standards of accura­cy, relevance, and balance have been set, but inevitably, some problems arose.

With the aircraft specifications, we have been conscious of the dangers of misrepresenting performance by associating, for example, the maximum range with maximum passenger and/or cargo load. The term normal, where used, therefore, is not a retreat to a broad generalization, but normality correctly expressed. A Tupolev Tu-114, for example, could fly 10,000km (6,000mi), but could not do so with a full payload.

Spelling presented real difficulties. Transliteration from the Russian, a language with vowel and consonant sounds differ­ent from most others, has been and still is interpreted in English in several ways. Aeroflot’s predecessor airline has been spelled Dobroliot, Dobrolyot, Dobriolot, and the generally accepted Dobrolet, which latter, in fact, is misleading, because it omits the у sound. We have done our best to be consistent.

Some place names have changed according to political decree, and several major cities, Leningrad, Kuibyshev, and Sverdlovsk, for example, changed back to their pre-Revolution names (St Petersburg, Samara, and Ekaterinberg, respectively) even while this book was being written. We have attempted, in the text, the tables, and the maps, to be contemporarily correct.

With a current fleet alone in the region of 11,000 air­craft, it was impossible to attempt to include individual air­craft details as in the previous volumes—even if they were available. Instead, emphasis has been placed on the pre-war non-Soviet aircraft, and selected post-war types where the

listing did not preclude essential text, photographs, drawings, or other tabular data.

The computerized layout of the text and final design according to Ron Davies’s original plan was fashioned and polished by Kimberley Fisher, of Fisher & Day; and Paladwr Press is much indebted to her and Brian Day for their enthusi­astic support and professional advice. Printing, once again, was accomplished under the professional direction of Scott Piazza of The Drawing Board. — John Wegg.

Showing The Flag

Подпись: (Left) Mikhail Gromov (Right) S.A. Shestakov, pilot of the ANT-4 Strana Sovyetov (Land of Soviets) and his flight engineer, D. V. Fufaev. (photo: Eugene Altunin) Подпись:

Feeling Its Way

Following the exhausting civil war, Russian aviation had struggled to pick up the pieces of a shattered industry. Carefully, almost methodically, it had begun to rebuild. Between 1918 and 1922, several exploratory flights were made with foreign-made aircraft, Farmans, L. V.G. s, and British types, not only from Moscow but in other parts of Russia and Central Asia. From 16 to 20 September 1922, B. K. Bellint made a round-trip in a Russian-built Junkers Ju 13 from Moscow to the Crimea, and from 20 May to 1 June 1923 flew another Ju 13 to Tashkent, as a prelude to Dobrolet’s pioneer­ing activities there (see page 18).

From 10 to 22 July, 1924, piloting an AK-1 — the first successful all-Soviet transport design — A. N. Tomashevskya flew from Moscow to Kazan; and from 29 September to 1 October of the same year, P. Kh. Mezheraup, in a Polikarpov R-l, flew to Kabul, Afghanistan. From 2 February to 8 April the next year, V. Ch. Kopilov, in a Junkers Ju 13, made a 10,400km (6,500mi) round-trip circuit in the northeastern and eastern regions of European Russia. And this kind of activity increased in intensity throughout the year, culminat­ing on 10 June 1925 when six aircraft (two R-ls, two Ju 13s, an R-2, and an AK-1) took off from Moscow to Peking (Beijing), China. Piloted by Mikhail M. Gromov (R-l), N. E. Nadenov (Ju 13), M. A. Volkovoynov (R-l), A. N. Ekatov (R-2), E. K. Polyakov (Ju 13), and A. E. Tomashevsky (AK-1), all six aircraft covered the 6,476km (4,025mi) in a little more than a month, arriving on 17 July. Gromov capped the performance by flying on to Tokyo, via Manchuria and Korea, from 30 August to 2 September.

Circuit of Europe

As if to emphasize that the products of TsAGI amounted to more than drawings and announcements, the Russians began to show their metal in western Europe where, because of the dearth of information emanating from Moscow, foreign politicians, press, and public alike were understandably skepti­cal about reports of aircraft construction in the brave new world of the Soviet Union. On 31 August 1926, Mikhail M. Gromov made a courageous demonstration which was quite literally a proving flight, as it proved to the skeptics that the Russians did have flying hardware.

Gromov took his ANT-3 from Moscow to Konigsberg, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Prague, Vienna, Warsaw, and then back to

Moscow. The Proletarii (Proletariat) completed this European circuit on 2 September, having covered the 7,150km (4,444mi) in 34hr 15min of flying time, at an average speed of 209km/h (130mph) (see map, p. 23).

Across the World

The following year, the ANT-3 made another important flight that must have given encouragement to the design team at TsAGI. On 20 August 1927, S. A. Shestakov flew an ANT-3 (RR-INT Osoaviakhim SSSR Nash Otvet (Our Answer) from Moscow to Tokyo, arriving there on 1 September. The 22,000km (13,670mi) round-trip was completed in 153 flying hours, at a leisurely speed of 144km/h (89mph) and both the pilot and his mechanic, D. V. Fufaev, were awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Two years later, with gaining confidence, Shestakov made a more ambitious flight, this time with an ANT-4 (URSS-300 Strana Sovyetov (Land of Soviets). Between 23 August and 2 November 1929, he made an historic flight from the U. S.S. R. to the U. S.A., via the Pacific northern rim. As with most long­distance flights, high speed was not the objective. The 21,200km (13,200mi, about the same as the Moscow — Tokyo round-trip) were covered in 137 flying hours, at an average speed of 155km/h (96mph). The twin-engined aircraft was fit­ted with floats at Khabarovsk for the occasion, and the arrival in the U. S. was on Lake Washington, Seattle.

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Showing The Flag



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Showing The Flag



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A Mainliner from Kiev

A Mainliner from KievA Mainliner from Kiev

The Antonov An-8

Oleg Antonov’s post-war Antonov An-2, whose versatility as a small maid-of-all-work for feeder and bush operations gave it a longevity which keeps it in production even today (pages 42-43), was the harbinger of greater things to come. For in 1956, the Soviet industry sprang another of its surpris­es and put on display a new military aircraft that had first flown a year earlier.

Though little known, and rarely seen outside its native land, the twin-engined Antonov An-8 deserves recognition as one of the design trend-setters in aircraft construction development history. Its main purpose was to carry troops, military vehicles, and equipment into small unprepared fields for front-line support, and as such, design aspects were direct­ed without compromise to this objective. The An-8’s wing was on top of the fuselage and the landing gear housed in fuselage fairings so that loading through its wide rear ramp/door did not require special ground equipment. The high tail permit­ted the rear-loading ramp plenty of space for ancillary loading ground equipment. The twin tandem main wheels, four on each side, distributed the load to aid the rough field perfor­mance requirements. Antonov perfected the design for spe­cialized freighter aircraft (pages 68-69).

The Ukraina

While the An-8 was strictly a military aircraft (although it appeared in Aeroflot markings), a larger variant, the four – engined, pressurized Antonov An-10, at first called the Ukraina, started to come off the production line in 1959. The general aerodynamic lines were cleaned up, the outer sec­tions of the wing were anhedral — a pronounced feature of later developments of the breed — and behold, a new 90-seat airliner was ready for Aeroflot.

A Mainliner from Kiev

An-lOA SSSR-11219 displays the definitive configuration with two vertical fins and no endplate tailplane fins. (Courtesy John Stroud)

The military Antonov An-8, progenitor of subsequent all-purpose commercial aircraft with the same basic design criteria. Although Aeroflot never operated An-8s, aircraft appeared with the airline’s titles, (photo: Paul Duffy)

A Mainliner from Kiev

An-10 SSSR-11158 in original configuration with single vertical fin and endplate fins on the tailplane. (Courtesy John Stroud)

Consolidation of Domestic Routes

As noted on the page opposite, the developed Antonov 10A, the most successful of the basic type, was quickly brought into service, on 10 February 1960, on the routes from Moscow and Leningrad to the south. Production of modern aircraft was now in full swing at the Antonov, Ilyushin, and Tupolev factories and assembly plants scattered throughout the U. S.S. R., and Aeroflot seemed to have come of age at last. The fleet strength at this time was reported to be 1,900 aircraft, of which about 120 were Tupolev Tu-104s, 60 Ilyushin Il-18s, 30 Antonov An-lOs. A Tu-104 flew to Toronto for an aviation Expo on 6 September 1959, and an An-10 flew to the U. S.A. on 24 December. The 11-18 began service to London, and in April 1960 started non-stop flights to Cairo. The Moscow-Leningrad intercity service was upgraded to a frequency of 15 daily flight on 1 June 1960, and Aeroflot was now carrying more than 20 million passen­gers a year.

Aeroflot to the Arctic

Coinciding with this widespread traffic upsurge, Aeroflot expanded its route network. On 3 February 1960, all the oper­ations of Polar Aviation (see pages 26-27) were transferred to the state airline. An-lOs were deployed to the northern wastelands, cargo flights starting on 5 April 1960. Then in August, an An-10 had the honor of pioneering the great circle route from Moscow to Khabarovsk, via Syktyvkar, Noril’sk), and Yakutsk. By June 1961, it had become the standard air­craft for the polar air routes, replacing the Lisunov Li-2 and the Ilyushin 11-14.

An-2s in the Far East

Подпись: The maintenance shed at Nikolayevesk-na-Amure — inclined to be draughty in winter. (R.E.G. Davies) Подпись:An-2s in the Far EastAn-2s in the Far EastAn-2s in the Far East

An-2s in the Far East

Antonovs For Ever

In an area of Siberia much larger than the United States, where no railways exist and roads are a rare luxury, the Antonov An-2 is the only link with civilization itself. Many hundreds of the versatile 12-seater carry people to work, to school, to the shops, and to visit friends and relatives. The maps and the photographs on this page provide a glimpse of such aerial bus services in the Far East Region of Aeroflot.

An-2s in the Far East

In the areas of Russia where the snows seem to be ever-present, air­craft are painted red for better visibility. (Paul Duffy)

An-2s in the Far East

Подпись:Four of tire local Antonov An-2 networks in the Far East Region of the Soviet Union, where 120 towns and villages are served by about the same number of aircraft. More than 60 such networks link about 2,000 communities throughout the vast U. S.S. R., now the CIS.


General Electric CF6-80C2A8 (2 x 26,760kg st, 59,0001b st) ■ MTOW 164,000kg (361,5601b) ■ Normal Range 6,550km (4,050mi)


Airbus A310-300

Development History

The first truly European airliner project, the wide-bodied 250/280-seat Airbus A300B made its maiden flight on 28 October 1972, and entered service with Air France in May 1974. After a slow start, the order book began to fill up after the twin had proved its economic worth and operational reliability. To compete effectively with US manufacturers, Airbus built up a family of twin-jet derivatives of the A300B, each incorporating the most modem technology.

Launched in spring 1979, the 200/220-seat A310-200 (originally called A300B10), designed for short-to-medium-range routes, featured a two-crew digital or so-called ‘glass cockpit’ and an advanced wing. A long-range version, the A310-300, which incorporated an additional fuel tank in the tailplane, made its first flight on 8 July 1985 and proved to be a popular choice with airlines as ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operations), pioneered by Airbus, became commonplace.

Aeroflot’s First Western Jetliner

Although much improved over the original model, the Il-62M’s long-range nonstop capability was limited (see page 55) and Aeroflot turned to the West to solve the problem. In October 1989, it announced its intention to order five A310-300s (plus five options) and confirmed its plan on the following January 24, with deliveries between November 1991 and June 1992. Following guarantees by the Russian government to the French creditors, the first aircraft was handed over on 2 July 1992.

Following a period of crew familiarization (some pilots had already been trained in anticipa­tion of the lease arrangement), the A310 entered service with Aeroflot on 4 August 1992 on European routes. Eleven days later it flew the inaugural service from Moscow to Hong Kong.

Airbus A310-300The five Aeroflot АЗ10-308s were originally painted at Toulouse with Aeroflot’s blue-winged hammer – and-sickle logo on the forward fuselage as shown in this photo ofF-OGQR (the fourth aircraft delivered to Aeroflot). Before handover to Aeroflot, a small Russian flag was applied to the tip of the rudder, but the third aircraft (F-OGQQ Tchaikovski), illustrated in Mike Macliat’s sideview above, adopted the new double-eagle logo of Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines, (photograph: Airbus Industrie)