The Chaplygin Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute's re-engined Antonov An-2 made its public debut last month at the Gelendzhik air show on Russia's Black Sea coast.
The Novosibirsk-based institute has replaced the single-engined aircraft's Shvetsov ASh-62 nine-cylinder radial engine with a Honeywell Aerospace TPE-331 turboprop and a Hartzell five-blade propeller. The upgrade is designed to breathe new life into the 65-year-old design by cutting its operating costs and boosting its performance characteristics.
The institute completed flight testing last month after a six-month programme. It says the new engine offers equivalent power to the ASh-62 but with less weight and drag. The TPE-331-powered An-2 also has a shorter take-off run and is steadier and easier to control, the institute says.
Russia's trade and industry ministry is seeking clearance from the government to modernise the utility transport bi-plane with new engines and avionics, to help address the chronic need for a new generation of regional aircraft to service remote communities in areas with poor road and rail links. The An-2, which first flew in 1947, is one the most widely produced biplanes in history, with more than 20,000 built.