KYIV, UKRAINE – Today, 55 years ago – on February 27, 1965 – the Antonov AN-22 Antei performed its maiden flight. The aircraft was welcomed with a water salute at Kyiv-Antonov Airport to celebrate its 55th anniversary. The AN-22 was the first widebody transport aircraft in the world and the biggest transport aircraft at that time, and set 41 world records.
The Antonov An-22 ‘Antei’ (Antaeus, NATO name ‘Cock’) is a heavy military transport aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.
Powered by 4 turboprop engines with each driving a pair of contra-rotating propellers, the design was the first wide-body transport aircraft and remains the world’s largest turboprop-powered aircraft to date.
The AN-22 made its first flight on February 27, 1965 and was performed by Captain Yurii Kurlin, Co-Pilot Volodymyr Terskiy, Navigator Petro Koshkin, Flight Engineer Volodymyr Vorotnikov, Flight Electrician Michael Rachenko, Radio Operator Mykola Drobyshev, and Chief Test Engineer Viktor Shatalov and Engineer Oleksandr Eskin.
World’s biggest propellors
The An-22 is an impressive aircraft with a take-off weight of 225 t, a fuselage diameter of 6 meters, and it has the world’s biggest propellers with a diameter of 6.2 m.
The An-22 first appeared outside the Soviet Union in 1965 at the Paris Le Bourget Air Show in France. Since then, the aircraft has seen extensive use in major military and humanitarian airlifts for the Soviet Union.
Antonov Airport (GML) – also known as Gostomel (or Hostomel) Airport is an international cargo airport and testing facility in Ukraine, located near the northwestern suburb of Kiev, Hostomel.
GML is owned by the Antonov aircraft manufacturing company and operated by its subsidiary Antonov Airlines. The only An-225 – world’s largest aircraft – is also based at Gostomel Airport.