How much does it cost to operate an An-2?
The An-2 typically burns 2-5 quarts of oil per hour ($12 to $50) and 45-55 gph of fuel ($270 to $360) depending on where you buy. Maintenance costs should be based on a 100 hour inspection cycle ($2,500+ per insp. or $25+ per flight hour). Typical annual replacement items with steady monthly use (600 hours annually) are both main tires, one engine accessory (pump, compressor, magneto?), and two complete sets of 18 spark plugs (about $2,400 of parts annually, or $24 per flight hour). All-told you will spend about $330-$460 per flight hour to fly this great aircraft, not counting your annual insurance payments and tie-down fees.
What type of aircraft certification is available in the USA for the An-2?
The An-2 can only be certified as an Experimental-Exhibition, Experimental-Research, or (possibly, but not accomplished yet) as a Restricted-Agricultural (crop duster) aircraft. Current FAA policy (apparantly at the direction of the state department) is that this fine aircraft will never be allowed to be certified in any way in which it can be used for commercial purposes in the USA involving passengers, cargo, or parachute jumping. As best we can understand, this policy is designed to protect Cessna, Piper, and Beech from market loss and applies to other Soviet designed aircraft as well. Some FAA inspectors will tell you that it is because the aircraft was never approved under FAR-23 procedures since it was designed prior to normalization of relations between the USA and former communist countries. However, close inspection of other FARs (part-21) reveals that such aircraft could be certified in the USA after passing a conformity check, which the FAA is not presently allowing for An-2s.
In what countries is the An-2 currently type certified for normal & commercial use?
The An-2 has been certified in Russia (obviously), Poland, all former warsaw pact countries, China, France, Brazil, Venezuala, Cuba, Nicaragua, Laos, United Arab Emirates and now Guatemala (thanks to Dragon Aviation). Most other countries allow some form of limited certification for non-commercial purposes as in the USA. Some An-2's are operating in Columbia.
How do I get an experimental certificate for the An-2 in the USA?
The procedures and requirements are outlined inFAR Part 21. It is not as complicated as you might imagine. The application is a one page form. Generally, you must prove to the local FAA inspector that the aircraft will fly safely by performing a documented ten hour flight test program. You must also develop an FAA approved maintenance and inspection program for the aircraft with all manuals and service procedures available in writing. Most current USA owners utilize the factory issued maintenance and service manuals (Copies of which are available from several sources for $3,000 to $5,000), with planned inspections at 100 flight hour intervals and annuals as for a typical light aircraft. The whole process may require some time and effort and a lot of letter writing, but it is not difficult nor insurmountable.
(Dragon Aviation is promoting an owner's coalition to share knowledge
and experience in this process.
The password protected owner's page of this web-site serves as the coalition's comm-center.)
Is an experimental certification transferable with ownership of an An-2?
Yes, the experimental certificate, once issued, is permanent (unless revoked) and remains with the aircraft even when ownership is transferred or changed.
What restrictions exist with an experimental certificate?
All experimental aircraft are subject to certain controls and limits. In general, an experimental aircraft will be restricted in how many people it can carry and where it can fly. To fly beyond the allowed operating area issued in the certificate requires prior approval by the FAA (a simple form letter actually). Since the experimental aircraft certification process and certificate issuance is all done at the local FSDO level of the FAA, the local inspector is the one that will decide what limits will be imposed. Unfortunately, there has been little consistancy in the certifications or inspectors. Some An-2s have been certified with permission to operate only with minimum crew (two pilots) and others with a full ship (two crew plus twelve passengers), or somewhere in between. Some have been restricted to operating only within 50 miles of the home airport, and others with limits up to 600 miles and pre-approved for a wide array of destination airports. We've heard at least one An-2 was certified with no travel restrictions but have not been able to identify this aircraft. You can typically expect VFR only operational limits, and absolutely no parachuting. To sum it up, your limits will depend on what you can arrange with the local FSDO inspector. Some are more tolerant and liberal than others.
(We would like to collect info and on which FSDOs have been kindest to owners and which are not.)
Can I take up Passengers in my experimental An-2?
Yes, but only if your issued certificate allows you to.
Can I charge money for rides in my experimental An-2 if I have a commercial pilots license?
No, you cannot directly charge anyone for riding in your An-2 as this constitutes commercial use of the aircraft, which is prohibited. However, you can "share expenses" with your passengers, and passengers can donate funds to defray operating costs in the same vein. At airshows, experimental aircraft warbird operators and An-2 operators have offered rides to people who have joined their warbird club or preservation society for a join-up fee. This type of back-door commercial use of experimental aircraft has been tolerated and more-or-less overlooked by the FAA. (If you do it, don't make it too obvious.)
Can I haul cargo in my experimental An-2?
You may legally throw anything you personally own in the back of your plane and fly it where ever you are allowed to go in your certificate. You can haul your friend's stuff as well and other people's stuff as long as you don't charge them any money for doing so (they can help defray costs though as above). As with airshow passenger rides, collecting money for this though, by any justification, may be carefully scrutinized by the FAA.
Dragon Aviation was told of a trading post operator in Alaska who bought an An-2 to haul his own goods that were purchased in the big city out to his remote trading-post. This was legal but the local FAA came and revoked his certificate anyway, because, apparantly by doing this, a couple of local cargo-bush pilots had complained of lost business since they used to be the ones who hauled his cargo for pay and his private use of his own An-2 had impacted them financially.
What about parachuting from an An-2 registered in the U.S.?
The AN-2 is a popular jump plane in several other countries. The Russians used it as a paratroop transport. The FAA has, to date, been pretty consistant about prohibiting parachuting from the An-2. One An-2 known to Dragon Aviation is certified for sky-diving at air shows ONLY as part of a show routine. Since the jumpers were intended to be part of the An-2's show, this was okay. However, flying paying jumpers; from a commercial sky-dive facility would not be okay. Hollywood has used an An-2 in a recent Chuck Norris movie in which stunt men were karate'd and fell to their death (parachuted) out the door. This has been done through special; certificate waivers issued for one time use for films and stunts.
What can be done to get the An-2 certified as a normal category airplane in the USA?
The FAA states that the current manufacturers of the aircraft, Poland
and China could submit the design specifications per FAR-23 and complete
all the required flight, strength, and structural testings required by
FAR-23 as is currently being done for new aircraft designs coming out of
post-communist Poland. However, PZL, the factory in Poland has no desire
to do so, considering the exhorbant costs, and the time and effort that
would be required.With the apparant limited market for An-2s in the USA,
the Chinese wouldn't be interested in spending the money, time or effort