TsAGI’s Centenary in History: ANT-2 aircraft
28 June 2019
On May 26th, 1924 the forefather of all Russia’s metal aircraft ANT-2 made its first flight.
The birth of this groundbreaking aircraft was preceded by the creation by the scientists of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after Professor N.E. Zhukovsky of a metal alloy suitable for aircraft construction. In May 1922, a material-testing section started to function at the Institute that focused on uncovering the secrets behind duralumin and creating its Soviet analog, Duralumin-type alloy.
The new metal was chosen by Deputy Head of TsAGI, Tupolev A.N. for building propeller sleigh and gliders. After that, Tupolev started creating a mixed-type aircraft with the use of wood and metal. Based on the evaluation given by its first pilot, ANT-1 was stable and controllable. Afterwards TsAGI started to work on an all-metal aircraft. Researchers had to pave their wave by themselves, for all-metal aircraft was then still a novelty, even abroad.
Works on the first Soviet all-metal aircraft ANT-2 began in the spring of 1923. It was created by the staff of TsAGI’s Aviation, Marine Aviation, and Experimental Design Department (AGOS).
This is how L. Kerber describes the above in his book entitled “Tupolev — a man and a plane”: “The fuselage was given a triangular cross-section, delineated around a sitting human fugure. At the top, the width corresponded to the shoulder-width, in the lower section it narrowed in such a way, that one could easily place their feet. The cabin was small so the passengers were sitting facing each other, knees touching. The pilot was placed behind the motor with his head sticking out; for anti-wind protection, a celluloid screen was installed. The machine structure was all made of metal: Duralumin-type alloy pipes, profiles, and flute. ”
By May, 1924, the ANT-24 construction was completed; it was first piloted by Nikolai Petrov. The aircraft showed good controllability, especially after the empennage area was increased.
Already a few days later, on June 1, the newborn aircraft took part in the air show at Frunze Central Aerodrome. It joined the P-1 reconnaissance aircraft squadron and strongly impressed the audience with the novelty of forms and smoothness of flight.
The second aircraft, ANT-2bis, also constructed by AGOS, was used by A.N. Tupolev for a wide-scale test program and to verify a number of theoretical assumptions. The ANT-2 design allowed to equip it with both wheeled and ski landing gear.
Civil air fleet expressed their interest in the new plane; however, the lack of motors and low passenger-carrying capacity hampered its mass production. Still, ANT-2 is an important step in the development of aircraft-building: it served as a pioneer in the history of all-metal aircraft and a basis for large combat aircraft design.