Antonov An-72 (72)948
Photographed at the Chkalovskaya air base in Russia on 24 August 2009.
There is a photograph dating from 1993 of this aircraft at RAF Lyneham, but it seems to have been stuck at Chkalovskaya for at least 5 years now.
The An-72 was designed as a STOL transport and intended as a replacement for the Antonov An-26, but variants have found success as commercial freighters. They are often called Cheburashka by Russians, because the large engine intake ducts resemble the oversized ears of the popular animated creature with the same name.
An unusual design feature of the An-72 and An-74 is the use of the Coandă effect to improve STOL performance, utilizing engine exhaust gases blown over the wing's upper surface to boost lift. The first flight was made in August 31, 1977, but it was only in the 1980s that production started. The power plant used is the Lotarev D-36 turbofan engine. The An-72 bears a resemblance to the Boeing YC-14, a prototype design from the early 1970s which had also used overwing engines and the Coandă effect.
The rear fuselage of the airplane has a hinged loading ramp with a rear fairing that slides backwards and up to clear the opening. Up to 7.5 tons can be airdropped whilst there are folding side seats for 52 passengers.
The An-72 has extremely good short field capabilities. Like many other Soviet-built aircraft, this jet plane was designed to operate on rugged airfields, its powerful undercarriage dealing well with sand, grass or other unpaved surfaces.
Picture added on 02 October 2009 at 09:35