An unprecedented 12,427-mile charity flight from the coast of Russia to South Africa in an Antonov An-2 Russian biplane will be reaching the end of its journey in Lanseria next week. Following the completion of the ‘From Ocean to Ocean’ trip, the aircraft, known as ‘Anoushka,’ or ‘Little Annie,’, will be based full-time in Africa to carry out charitable projects.
The aircraft, donated by Russian airline UTair and supported by ExecuJet, an aviation services company, from its bases in Europe and Africa, left Cape Kamenniy, Russia, in August 2012 and has flown across snow-bound Europe, past Gibraltar, over the Sahara Desert and down the west coast of Africa.
The trip celebrates the 65th anniversary of Antonov aircraft of which the An-2 was the first highly successful type built. The An-2 was built in 1987 but is unchanged from the original 1948 design and is the largest single engine biplane ever built.
Previously used for cargo operations in Russia, the An-2 will take on an entirely new role under the ‘Just Love’ banner. The aircraft will be based permanently at Lanseria International Airport and carry out charitable work supporting humanitarian causes in southern Africa. Through the ‘Just Love’ charity, ‘Little Annie’ will promote education and enterprise through the inspiration of flight.
The silver biplane has a highly experienced crew from UTair comprising two pilots, captain Sergey Bykov and co-pilot Sergey Dmitrenko, plus engineer Alexander Achimov. Accompanying them is Mark Hill, a South African former military pilot who will be operating the An-2 in its charitable role, and Tracey Curtis-Taylor from England. Tracey will be undertaking a solo flight from Cape Town to Cambridge, England, later this year in another vintage bi-plane.
To learn more about the flight, click here.
From an Execujet news release