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We had this Russian An-26 Curl plane super loaded with equipment and people and fuel. Almost the entire was filled with a huge white plastic fuel tank. We had to stuff our equipment anywhere and everywhere. I couldn't believe that this plane could take off with this much weight. Only some of our members had a seat to sit in. Really, the seats were just cloth benches along the sides and in front of the internal fuel tank. The smell of jet fuel was very strong, yet the Russian crew never hesitated to smoke.
The cold temperatures of operation gave the engines, wings and propellers an increased efficiency making our overall weight to be a less of a problem.
When I was outside of the airplane I noticed that all of the tires were tremendously weather checked, but the tread did not appear worn out. I told some other people that this plane would not be allowed to fly in the United States. But the truth is that the weather checking of the tires came from the extreme cold temperatures of operation. One of my friends that worked at O'Hare Airport in Chicago said that in the extreme cold, the big jet aircraft would also have weather checking.
One other thing. When we were preparing to take off from Barneo Base on the Geographic North Pole, I looked down at the brake line just as the same time that one of the crew members saw the line also. The brake line was completely broken off of its mounting nipple. The crew member just reached down and pushed it back on the nipple. It was going to come off as soon as the pilot hit the brakes, but what else can he do, there was no service hanger on the Geographic North Pole.
There was one thing that I didn't understand. The crewmember was off loading fuel to compensate for our excess weight and the broken, shortened runway. The crewmember would drain the fuel into 55 gallon drums and then look at the pilot. The pilot would shake his head and he had to continue off loading the fuel. I am wondering what the pilot was looking at to know the weight of the aircraft. We did not measure the weight of the equipment on the plane, we just stuffed the fuselage full.
When we took off of the all ice runway, the pilot pulled the nose up as far as he could as if he was doing a soft field takeoff. It's interesting, because we were not on a soft field, it was solid ice with no snow and a lot of traction. I'm a pilot and I'm surprised that he used this method for takeoff.
Y-7H is the Chinese production version.
The An-26 Curl is a highly flexible aircraft designed for short hauling. It is a short to medium range military and commercial transport and cargo carrier. It is equipped with side benches to accommodate troops or skydivers. Thanks to the rear loading ramp, the An-26 can operated without much ground support. The Tactical transport, development of the An-24. The An-26 like the An-24RV has an auxiliary turbojet in the right engine nacelle, used for high-and-hot operations.
Russian Aircraft Links
Antonov AN-26 with interior layout diagrams
Aircraft types for charter
A Guide to Russian Airliners: Index of Aircraft Types
A guide to Cargo Aircraft from around the world
Antonov An-26 used for arms transport
Aircraft specs for many Russian Planes
Russian Aviation a great site.
This page has a lot of Russian Planes and more
An-24 and An-26 photos
Antonov An-26 Curl
picture on this page is an actual photo of the
snow on the North Pole by C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster.
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The 34th Fighter SquadronThe 34th fighter Squadron WW2 Exhibit USS Kitty Hawk Aircraft Carrier Exhibit.
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