We received some supplies today at work and they came in a most unusual package – a Russian Anatov 32. This turbine/propeller driven monster has quite large engines for its size and is well suited to carry cargo to most anywhere in the world.
Once it pulled to a halt and the wheels were chocked, I wandered around this bird to get a better look. It certainly has seen some use but seems rugged and well built.
The back end opens up - much like many of the military aircraft like the C-130 Hercules – and entire pallets can be loaded into its bay. I watched as a forklift pulled our cargo out.
I backed up and shot a photo of the landing gear. It is sturdily built and can take a rough or unimproved runway. The Anatov’s high wing and high engine placement make it well suited for grass or dirt strips or improvised fields. I’d sure love to get behind the yoke while this thing is flying.
I practiced my Russian and spoke with the crew. The pilot is from Moscow and the co-pilot is from Kiev. They assumed I knew much more Russian than I did and as a result they spoke so fast that I could hardly understand anything. I offered them some drinks and they asked if the drinks were cold (in Russian). This I understood and nodded saying, “Da.” They happily accepted and when they found out that George and I were pilots, they invited us in and gave us a seat at the controls.
I read each of the gauges to George and he was impressed that I could read Cyrillic. All of the gauges were in metric (celsius and meters) and all were quite old. Some of the gauges had been replaced with modern (Western) gauges that read in psi and feet – talk about confusing!
Later, as we climbed out of the plane, Roscoe shot this photo of me climbing down the stairs. We see a lot of airplanes here at the airport but most are American and European planes. And we don’t go out on the tarmac so often; it was a nice break to look at something new. I hope my pilot friends will enjoy the photos.
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