August 27, 2012
Honeywell is “in discussions with a Russian firm regarding the potential use of our TPE331-12U engine” in Antonov An-2 aircraft, the U.S. manufacturer tells AviationWeek.
Honeywell would not provide more details, but the Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute in a press release earlier this year said it tested the biplane with the Honeywell turboprop engine and a Hartzell HC-B5MP five-bladed propeller. Hartzell is based in Piqua, Ohio.
“The first test flights showed that application of this combination of engine TPE331-12 and [propeller] HC-B5MP has improved both runway and flight characteristics,” the institute says. The test pilot describes the aircraft as “steadier and more controllable.”
A six-minute YouTube video apparently posted by the institute in December 2011 shows the test aircraft taking off, flying and landing. And a 19-second YouTube video posted in March shows the same aircraft (registration number 17754) but only on takeoff, noting a takeoff weight of 4,100 kg.
The text says the institute wants to modernize the aircraft to make it more fuel efficient—using kerosene-type jet fuel instead of the gasoline-powered ASz-62IR engines currently on the aircraft—and lower its maintenance costs.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this month called for the development of new or modernized Russian short-distance aircraft for regional airline operators, stating concerns about the lack of regional airline service in remote areas in the north, east and Siberia. Yury Slyusar, the country’s deputy minister of trade and industry, also recently said that his department proposed modernizing the Antonov An-2 fleet with “state-of-the-art U.S. engines, new avionics and a new service airframe life.”
Russia’s civil aviation industry currently includes about 1,400 of the An-2 aircraft, which were initially designed in the 1940s. There are an additional 600 to 800 registered with the state.