In the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, most flights to remote villages in the region are still carried out by the legendary veteran of Russian aviation – An-2. By the way, last year marked the 75th anniversary of his first flight. Since then, more than 18 thousand copies of this machine have been produced in Russia, and it is used not only in our country, but also in 53 other countries of the world. True, in Russia its mass production stopped almost half a century ago, but it continued at an aircraft factory in China. Today, a clone of the Soviet An-2 with a new name and a modern turboprop engine is being produced in China.
Before the accident near Karatayka, there were seven Annushkas in the air fleet of the Naryan-Mar air squadron; for more than half a century flights to Lower Pesha, Oma, Nes, Shoina, Indiga and other inaccessible points have been and are operating. from the Nenets tundra. It should be noted that the An-2, which made a forced landing in the NAO on January 9, was in working order.
– The plane had a certificate of airworthiness, passed all maintenance and repairs on time. The crew completed all the necessary pre-flight procedures before the flight, Naryan-Mar air squadron chief Valery Ostapchuk said.
Additionally, it rated severe and unpredictable icing as the most likely cause of the incident. The airline also believes that the age of the aircraft is not related to the safety of the flight.
Here only the residual resource matters, and it is calculated simultaneously in hours, in takeoff-landing cycles and in years. There are strict rules, according to which each board undergoes maintenance and repair when working on a certain resource, they say in the detachment.
The position of the aviation service is understandable: today other aircraft are not capable of replacing the Annushka, which is ready to land at any airfield at any time of the year (in winter it puts on skis). And the start of production of the proposed replacement for the An-2, the Baikal light aircraft, according to the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, is scheduled only for 2024. Therefore, Arctic pilots, as decades ago, have to fly on “pensioners”. And despite its uniqueness, the An-2 does not meet modern safety requirements.
The last serious plane crash with a “corn” in Pomorie occurred in 2018.
And two years before that, in 2016, the postal AN-2, due to engine failure, landed right in Arkhangelsk, on the ice of the Northern Dvina (no one was hurt then either).
What is the fleet of small aircraft of the North replenishing today? In the Nenets Autonomous Okrug – new helicopters, in the Arkhangelsk region, the latest aircraft for small aviation were purchased in 2019 – these are new Czech L-410s. But it is impossible to leave the An-2 in the Arkhangelsk region – “Annushki” still operates flights to inaccessible points of Pomorie, which cannot even receive “moose”.
“Annushki” are the only planes connecting Pomorie with the villages of the Nenets Autonomous District. The start of production of the proposed replacement for the An-2, the Baikal light aircraft, according to the Ministry of Transport, is scheduled for only 2024.
The situation is also difficult in the Komi Republic. The region hopes to receive financial assistance for Komiaviatrans. Today, the company has 32 Mi-8 helicopters, two An-24 planes, most of which cannot take off. There are four more L-410 aircraft, one of them is good. Most of the helicopters are over 20 years old and many do not have an airworthiness certificate. That is why the company cannot participate in the tenders. The volume of aviation work performed is also gradually decreasing.
Currently, flights to Ukhta and Inta have been suspended due to problems with the maintenance and repair of L-410 aircraft. Two aircraft are grounded, one is “stuck” for repairs in the Czech Republic.
Similar plane crashes, which occurred in the NAO, also occurred in the Murmansk region. The largest of them occurred on the night of May 31, 2014. Then the SPARK-Avia airline’s Mi-8 helicopter, carrying nineteen people, crashed into Lake Vostochnoe Munozero, 80 kilometers from the village of Umby, tersky district. On board were representatives of the management of one of the main mining companies, scientists and various employees of the regional government. None of them survived.
Today, small aviation is represented in the Murmansk region only by helicopters of the Kola division of the Vologda Aviation Enterprise, which since 2013 have been serving the region’s domestic air routes. According to Natalia Samoylenko, head of the Terek district administration, the helicopter carries a maximum of twenty people. But if you need to fly to the final destination – the village of Pyalitsy – then you have to take sixteen passengers with you, since additional fuel is required. There were no breakdowns or accidents during the flights, although some flights could be canceled for technical reasons.