On October 29, 1959, the Antonov An-24 made its maiden flight. Aboard the aircraft were Captain Georgii Lysenko, co-pilot Yurii Kurlin, navigator Volodymyr Popov, radio operator Petro Melnichenko, flight engineer Afanasii Kruts and leading test engineer Yakov Ryzhik.

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In the late 1950s, the Soviet Union was looking for a plane to replace the Ilyushin Il-14 military troop and cargo transport. The aircraft needed to be rugged in its construction and able to work from remote unpaved airstrips under harsh conditions. The Kyiv-headquartered Antonov Design Bureau developed a twin-engine high-wing designed plane that required minimal ground support. With a power-to-rate ratio higher than comparable aircraft, the An-24 was suitable for multiple roles, including ice reconnaissance and mapping.

Production began in Kyiv

The aircraft was first manufactured at the Kyiv-Svyatoshino aircraft production plant and later at Ulan Ude and Irkutsk. The Kyiv factory produced 985 planes, while Ulan Ude built 180 and Irkutsk 197 before production in the USSR ceased in 1978.

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China was looking for a rugged short to medium-haul aircraft, and the An-24 appeared to tick all the right boxes. After negotiating licenses to build the aircraft in China, the production was awarded to the Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation. Calling it the Xian Y-7, the first Chinese-assembled An-24T made its maiden flight on December 25, 1970.

The An-24 variants

In total, 1,285 An-24s and Xian Y-7S have been built. Variants of the original An-24 include the following aircraft:

  • An-24: The prototype aircraft of which four were built.
  • An-24A: A 50-seat passenger plane built in Kyiv
  • An-24AT: A tactical transport project with two turbojet boosters pod-mounted under the outer wings and a wider loading ramp.
  • An-24AT-U: A tactical transport with three or five PRD-63 gunpowder rocket engines, a wider cargo ramp, and provision for up to three brake parachutes.
  • An-24B: A second-generation airliner with an extra window on each side.
  • An-24D; A long-range version of the An-24B with a streched fuselage for 60 seats.
  • An-24LP: A forest firefighter aircraft
  • An-24LR: A plane for ice reconnaissance.
  • An-24PRT: A search and rescue aircraft based on the An-24RT.
  • An-24RR: A radiation reconnaissance aircraft.
  • An-24RT: An AN-24T, fitted with an auxiliary turbojet engine.
  • An-24RT: A communications relay aircraft.
  • An-24ShT: A tactical Airborne Command Post for commanders, capable of forming ground-based communications.
  • An-24T: A tactical transport version rejected due to poor field performance and range.
  • An-24T: A submarine hunter.
  • An-24TV: The export cargo version of the An-24T.
  • An-24USh: A navigator training aircraft.
  • An-24V-I: The export version of the 50-seat airliner.
  • An-24V-II: Mixed cargo-passenger aircraft.
  • An-26: A tactical transport with a cargo ramp.
  • An-30: A survey/photo-mapping aircraft.
  • An-32: A plane designed to withstand adverse weather conditions.
  • An-50: A plane dropped in favor of the Yak-40.
  • Xian Y-7; A Chinese version of the An-24/An-26.
  • MA60: An upgraded Westernized version of the Y-7.

Specification and general characteristics of the An-24B

  • Crew: 3
  • Capacity: 50 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 280 mph
  • Range: 1,500 miles
  • Service ceiling: 27,600 feet

What are your thoughts about this aircraft? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Source: simpleflying.com

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