|This is the Antonov An-26 that
we used to fly to Sredney Island from Khatanga. Sredney island is
located above the center of Russia in the Arctic Ocean. Sredney is
also spelled Srednij. Sredney island is the jump off point for many
Arctic Expeditions because of its nice runways and close proximity to the
actual North Pole.
Sredney Island is part of the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya located just
north of the northern coast of central Siberia. In Russian the archipelago
is spelled Се́верная Земля́,
meaning Northern Land. Severnaya Zemlya is also located on the division of
the Kara and Laptev Seas.
Severnaya Zemlya was first discovered in 1913 which makes it the last
archipelago on the planet Earth to be discovered. I have been to the
Russian base located on Srednij twice now. In late April the temperatures
were about -35 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate to light winds.
Thomas Trautman and I walked from one island to the next across the Kara
Sea. It was frozen so we were not trying to act like Jesus. As
we walked, there were two real big Russian dogs following us. One was only
a pup, but he was a big dog too. They did not speak English so it took us
a long time to make friends with them. As we walked with the wind to our
back, we would come to places that were shielded from the wind and also formed a
sort of lens which focused the heat and kept it trapped in a still air space.
When we entered these points, it was so hot that we had to instantly start
unzipping and opening up our clothes. This was very interesting to me.
When we returned to the base, the wind was in our face and it was much colder,
especially on our faces.
Thomas never new this, but I was having problems with my internal injuries
that happened way back when I was in the Navy. I was afraid that if we
kept walking that wound would open up and I would start having internal bleeding
again, which would mean a rescue from where we were located.
As we were flying to the base, I noticed that there were many bases
located in these islands, but they all looked abandoned.
One last comment: No matter where we went, the Russians always
treated us very well and were very helpful. The Russian people are really
- Crew: 4 (2 pilots, 1 engineer, 1 navigator)
- Capacity: 40 passengers
- Payload: 5,500 kg (12,000 lb)
- Length: 23.8 m (78 ft 1 in)
- Wingspan: 29.2 m (95 ft 9 in)
- Height: 8.32 m (27 ft 3 in)
- Wing area: 74.98 m (ft)
- Empty weight: 15,020 kg (33,110 lb)
- Useful load: 4,500 kg (9,900 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 24,000 kg (53,000 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 Progress AI-24VT turboprops, 2,820 shp
- Cruise speed: 440 km/h (240 knots, 275 mph)
- Range: 2,550 km (with maximum fuel; 900 to 1100 km
with maximum payload) (1,380 nm, 1,580 mi, 485 nm, 595 nm)
- Service ceiling: 7500 m (17,000 ft)
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