Antonov – An aircraft manufacturer that has been around for several decades. They have produced aircraft of numerous types. Established in 1946, the company specializes in large aircraft, and also aircraft that can handle un-improved runways. One of their earliest designs, the AN-2, is a large biplane that cares little about its runway surface. The Annushka, or “Annie” is also a light utility aircraft that has had many variants, and has been used for many purposes. From agricultural spray applicator to parachute drop plane, the Annie can take care of most duties. Powered by a super-charged 9-cylinder radial engine, the AN-2 is no speed demon. In fact, she is quite the opposite – There have been reports that this plane will fly, under full control, at speeds as low as 30 MPH! Though this is typical of most STOL aircraft, very few are large, drag-producing biplanes.
I first saw the new Antonov AN-2, from Maxford USA, at the 59th annual Toledo Expo back in April, 2013. I was immediately drawn to this large biplane! Spanning 62″, it is roughly 1/11 scale, and 100-percent cool! When the opportunity arose to review this unique aircraft, I jumped on it.
Price: $219.99 (Accurate at time of review)
Combo Price: $399.99 with Motor and ESC (Accurate at time of review)
Wingspan: 62″ (1574mm)
Wing Area: 739 in² (47.6 dm²)
Weight: 6 lb Flying Weight (2725 g)
Wing Loading: 19 oz/ft² (58 g/dm²)
Length: 42″ (1067mm)
Center of Gravity (CG): 2″ (5mm) from the Leading Edge of the Top Wing
Radio Used:Tactic TTX650 (Not Included)
Motor Used: 3548 1100KV Brushless outrunner
ESC Used: 70Amp ESC
Battery Used: 4S 14.8 Volt 3200 mAh LiPo
Channels Used: 5 total – Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, Flaps
Items Needed To Complete
- 5 Channel (Minimum) Transmitter and Receiver
- 6 Micro Servos (Electric Power)
- 7 Micro Servos (Glow Power)
- 2 – 12″ Servo Extensions
- 2 – 6″ Y-Harnesses
- 400 Watt (Minimum) Brushless Outrunner Motor
- 60 Amp ESC
- 4S LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
- .40 Sized Glow Engine, Fuel Tank and Fuel Tubing
- Optional Glow Engine Firewall (Available from Maxford USA)
Additional Items Needed to Complete
- CA Glue
- 5-Minute Epoxy
- Thread Locking Compound
- Rotary Tool
- Misc. Shop Tools
- Only ARF of the AN-2 Available
- Wings Remove Easily for Transportation
- Fiberglass Cowl with Dummy Radial Engine
- Glow and EP Power Options
- Large Access Hatch/Canopy
- Stick-on Decal Set Included
- Balsa and Light Ply Construction
- Adjustable Motor Mount for Easy Installation
- None as Tested
Time Required to Build
The AN-2 arrived double-boxed to avoid shipping damage – upon opening the first box, I found a rather un-assuming second box with only a black arrow on the side. There were no fancy logos or other information on the outside, but this allows Maxford USA to spend less on the disposable items and pass along better prices to their customers! Unpacking and laying out all the major pieces proved that the double-boxed shipping is keeping the contents safe.
There are several cool features to the AN-2. I really like the LARGE canopy/battery hatch, the curved turtle-deck and belly of the fuselage, and the fiberglass cowl with pre-installed air intake scoop and dummy radial engine.
The wing center sections are pretty neat as well – they stay attached to the fuselage, and the outer wing sections are attached with composite rods and magnetic ‘Maxlock’ keys – more on these later in the assembly. This particular model comes equipped with ailerons and flaps – the latter should help slow the plane down for very scale STOL type landings. I also like the wing and tail struts – the hardware for these are pre-installed and make set-up easy!
A quick look inside the fuselage shows off the quality assembly process and wood selection. Also of note are the plywood wing supports used for transporting the dis-assembled plane, and the rugged landing gear. We’ll get more into detail on these in a few minutes.
The manual includes a lot more written instructions than other manuals I have read. That being said, the assembly instructions are all there, and reading through the manual before starting assembly is highly recommended!
Elevator and Rudder Servo Installation
Assembly started with installing the elevator and rudder servos. Following the Addendum to the Manual, I installed the two servos in the forward mounts, and slid the pushrods through the EZ Link connectors. I did NOT tighten the connectors at this time.
Motor, ESC, and Cowl Installation
Moving on to the business end, I mounted the 3548 1100KV Brushless motor to the adjustable motor box, which was then slid into the opening in the firewall. The cowl was then installed and held in place with masking tape.
With the correct location found, I secured the motor box with 5-minute epoxy, and the ESC was held in place with a piece of foam rubber and a hook-n-loop strap. Using a piece of note card, I located and drilled the cowl mounting holes in the fuselage.
With the note cards still taped to the fuse, I then located and drilled the holes in the cowl, and attached the cowl to the fuselage.
Main Landing Gear and Lower Wing Installation
On to the lower wing and landing gear! The lower wing fairings have guide tubes pre-installed, and they are secured to the fuselage with medium CA. The main landing gear was then fit to the fuselage and held to the belly with a pair of plastic straps.
The top section of the main gear are slid through a pair of holes in the fuselage and secured with two wheel collars. At first, I found this to be a little out of the ordinary, but the Antonov is very much a less than ordinary aircraft! The lower composite wing rods were then slid through the fuselage and the wing panels were secured using the Maxlock keys. The Maxlock keys are short pins (two upper and two lower – one for each wing panel)that are held in place with magnets pre-installed in the wing’s center sections.
After grinding flat spots on the axles, I installed the main wheels. According to the manual, the axle ends that stick out beyond the wheel collar may be cut off, but I simply raided my hardware drawer and added a wheel collar to the inside of each wheel.
Tail assembly began by gluing the two elevator halves to the joiner wire. After a quick adjustment to the joiner, I used some 5-minute epoxy to secure it into each elevator half. After installing and securing the CA hinges, the control horn was attached with machine screws, and I removed the center section of covering to attach the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage. Note- the covering MUST BE REMOVED from the top and bottom of the stab, because the fin sits on top of the stab.
After a quick stab to wing check, I attached the stab and fin using some 30-minute epoxy – this gave me plenty of time to make sure both pieces were taped in place correctly before the epoxy cured.
Following the instructions, I bent the tail wheel wire and secured it to the rudder with some 5-minute epoxy. The tail wheel bracket was attached to the bottom of the fuselage with a pair of wood screws, and the rudder was secured with CA hinges and thin CA. Last item to complete on the tail was attaching the rudder control horn to its pushrod and the rudder. The holes for the horn are pre-drilled for the correct placement.
Upper Wing Assembly and Installation
First item on the top wing was to mark each of the four hatches, so they are correctly re-installed. I then epoxied each of the eight servo blocks (two per hatch) to the four hatches and installed the flap and aileron servos. The four hatches were then installed, making sure that the flap servos both operated in the same direction. The ailerons and flaps were attached to the two wing panels using CA hinges and thin CA, followed by the control horns. The manual stated that the flap and aileron horns are glued in place, but I added some small wood screws just to be safe. I then installed the pushrods and EZ Link connectors.
The front wing pins were epoxied in place, followed by sliding the upper wing rods through the center section. The first wing was slid onto the rods, while the servo wires were pulled through the center section, followed by the remaining wing. With all four servo wires pulled through the center hole, I connected the two Y-harnesses, and the upper wing was installed on the fuselage.
On to the trickiest part of the whole assembly process! I gently spread the upper and lower wing panels apart and test-fit the struts. When satisfied with their fitment, I removed the struts and mixed up a small batch of epoxy – for this application, I used Epo-Grip. Epo-Grip is an epoxy with the consistency of petroleum jelly – it doesn’t flow, rather it stays where it is placed. This makes it ideal for the small pockets in the wings! The wing struts were then re-installed and the Epo-Grip epoxy was allowed to cure.
Maxford USA’s Maxlok system features metal pins and magnets for easy wing removal, transport and storage. As a Maxlok key is inserted into its opening in the bottom of the wing, it passes through a tab that is part of each outer wing panel to lock the wing solidly in position. Maxlok keys are held by magnets inside the wing. To disassemble the wing for transport or storage, simply remove the Maxlok key and the wing panels come apart easily.
Horizontal Stabilizer Strut Installation
The horizontal stabilizer struts were installed next, and presented no trouble – the lower mounting holes were already marked on the fuselage, so all that remained was drilling the holes in the stab. With all the holes drilled, I used the included wood and machine screws to attach the struts.
Using a piece of hook-n-loop tape, I attached the receiver to the inside of the fuselage and connected all the servo wires. That concluded the actual assembly of the AN-2, but there were some optional parts left to be installed. Following the manual, I installed the simulated aileron and flap drop hinges and flying wires. They do add a lot of detail and don’t take but a few minutes to add!
Another add-on was the oil cooler. I drilled a small hole in the bottom of the fuselage and epoxied it in place. Lastly, the decals were installed – there weren’t many, but they added enough realism to make them a ‘worth-while’ addition!
The last item to cover in the assembly is the wing supports. Using the included supports and rubber bands, the wing panels can be removed without dis-assembly – this makes transportation really easy if you don’t have a large vehicle!
A Few Special Touches
Now, I always like to add a few special touches to my projects – something that will make my plane look different on the flight line. Maxford USA was kind enough to include two pilot figures, but they looked identical. Using a permanent marker, I added some color to one of the figures so they looked a little different. I also added an antenna mast and wire – the mast was a piece of landing gear from an old park flyer, and the wire was a piece of braided line I had laying around my shop. I also tore apart and cut down the barrel of a large ink pen to make the exhaust pipe.
The last things I did were to add some detail to the dummy radial engine – using a silver paint pen, I colored the pushrod tubes on the radial and added some spark plug wires. The wire came from an old servo extension wire, and I simply drilled holes in the heads and at the base of each cylinder. The wires were pushed into the holes, and a drop of medium CA secured each end.
The10x6 four-bladed prop was picked up on line, and added that ‘real look’ to the AN-2. Using the 3548 1100KV motor and 70 Amp ESC with this prop worked really well up to about half throttle – the prop worked the motor too hard above half throttle. But, I will say that the entire flight video was shot at half throttle or less – more on that in the flight report!
I finished the Antonov just a couple of days before leaving for WATTS over Owatonna, so I brought it along. The video was shot on the maiden flight of the AN-2, and I think the video does a great job of showing how nice the plane flies. The take-off and landing were done from the grass, because the nylon runway surface was very slippery under the AN-2’s foam wheels.
The first thing I noticed was the great ground handling – the steerable tail wheel has great authority in directing the plane! With the AN-2 sitting on the grass runway, the throttle was advanced. The plane started moving and was off the ground at half-throttle! The 10×6 four bladed propeller and 3548 1100KV outrunner, 70 ESC, and 4 cell LiPo battery provided plenty of power – even with the stick pushed only half way up – to get the large, lightly loaded biplane airborne!
A circuit or two around the field provided ample time to adjust the trims – three clicks of right aileron and two clicks of up elevator were the only requirements. With the plane flying straight and level at 1/3 throttle (which proved to be just right for scale speeds) it was a very easy flying aircraft!
Now for some fun! I pulled the throttle back to about one-quarter, and dropped the flaps – the AN-2 seemed to literally just hang in the air! I felt no loss of control at slow speeds. There was no elevator correction needed at the lower throttle settings to prevent the plane from ballooning with the flaps down.
Around the 10-minute mark, I dropped the flaps again and set up for a landing. The AN-2 slowed down to a mere crawl and came down with no bad habits at all! Landing the Antonov was as easy as it gets!
I tried a couple of aerobatic maneuvers on the second (not filmed) flight – mainly a stall turn and an aileron roll – the roll was slow and required lots of down elevator while the plane was inverted. The stall turn was easy, but anything else would look so un-natural for this utility/cargo plane.
If I had to find fault with the plane’s flight characteristics, I would have to say that rudder coordination is required for aileron turns, and I found that the AN-2 needed a touch of opposite aileron correction after initializing a turn. This is not a big deal, and I have heard of this requirement in other airplanes as well.
Over all, I’d give the Maxford USA Antonov AN-2 two thumbs up – it’s a unique aircraft that’s rarely seen in the RC world. I had mine at Watts over Owatonna, an event with over 150 pilots and many more airplanes, and it was the only one. Assembly was easy and there’s plenty of room for extra add-on details, and the plane flies very nicely. Thank you, Maxford USA, for bringing the Antonov AN-2 to modelers around the world!
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