Code named "Colt" by NATO, this large Soviet biplane has also been built in large numbers in satellite countries. AN-2s have been used as airliners, and as agricultural and bush airplanes.
Original purpose was for agricultural aviation but, because of excellent basic qualities, was subsequently used for other purposes. Standard An-2P is utility transport, while V is twin-float seaplane, and ZA is substantially modified variant for high-altitude atmospheric sampling and research. All models can be fitted with skis. Chief reason for biplane configuration was to obtain good STOL and exceptional slow-flying qualities (down to about 56 mph).. Was enhanced with four electrically driven slotted flaps, drooping ailerons, and leading-edge slats. Is relatively large for a biplane; cross-section of the cabin is roughly the same as DC-3, though shorter, and able to seat 12 passengers in 4 rows of 2+1 seating. Alternatively, can carry 2,645 lbs of cargo, 6 litter patients, or 12 paratroopers on 6 tip-up seats along each side of the cabin. Flight-deck windows built out like large bay windows on each side to enhance downward visibility for 2-man crew. Most An-2s h used as utility aircraft carrying everything from food and ammunition to troops and their pay. Large numbers have served as standard trainers for radio operators and navigators, paratroops, and even in electronic warfare. Service deliveries began 1948.
The AN-2 also has the distinction of being the largest single engine biplane in current use.