Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov 1906-1984

Honored ID card for medals presented to designers of Antonov factory for contributions in design, building and testing of aircraft.Signed by Chief-designer Oleg Antonov. This example is issued to Constantine Polyakov who made a great contribution to the development activities of AN24, AN22, AN14M and AN26.Antonov AN-12 prototype, signed by Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov

Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov was a Soviet aircraft designer, the founder of Antonov ASTC, a world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine, later named in his honour.Antonov was born on 7 February 1906 in a village near Moscow. His father was civil engineer Kostantyn Kostantynonych Antonov and his mother Hanna Yukhymivna Bykoryukina died when he was nine years old. The family first lived on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital that his father had helped build. In 1912, the Antonovs moved to Saratov, where he attended the local technical school. From an early age, Antonov was fascinated with aviation and spent much of his spare time at the local airport. He was there most of his life until he died in a car crash.At the age of 17, Antonov founded the "Amateur Aviation Club" and the "Organization of Friends of the Air Force." In the same year, he designed the OKA-1 "Pigeon", a glider that was entered in a competition in Moscow where he won the first prize, a flight on a Junkers 12 aircraft.[1]

In 1930, Antonov graduated from the Kalinin Polytechnical Institute in Leningrad. He continued to design gliders and in 1931, Antonov became the chief designer of the Moscow Glider Factory. During the next eight years, he designed 30 different gliders including the Standard-1, Standard-2, OKA-6 and the large "City of Lenin" glider. Due to a requirement that all pilots in the Soviet Union had to begin their flight training on gliders, Antonov was able to produce up to 8,000 gliders per year.

In 1938, due to an incident when an instructor defected to the West using a glider, the Soviet government reversed its decision regarding glider training, banned the sport of gliding and shut down the Moscow Glider Factory. Following the close of the glider factory, Antonov was hired as the Chief Designer for Yakovlev Aircraft. In 1940, a new company in his own name was created in Lenningrad.
During the war, Antonov designed the A-7 troop and supply glider used to supply partisans and the KT "Kryl'ja Tanka" or "Tank Wings" biplane glider that used used to ship tanks to the front line. In 1943 Antonov returned to Yakovlev’s design bureau to fill a vacancy as Yakovlev’s deputy. A great deal of his time and energy was devoted to the improvement of the Yak series, one of the most mass-produced fighter aircraft types of World War. After the war Antonov requested Yakovlev to let him work independently, heading Yakovlev’s subsidiary design office at the aircraft manufacturing factory at Novosibirsk. On 31 May 1946, Antonov was appointed head of the newly redesignated facility known as the Antonov Aircraft design bureau, later moved to Kiev, Ukraine. In September 1946, Antonov, in addition to his management of the design bureau, became the Director of the Siberian R and D Institute for Aeronautics.[1]

The first of the bureau's designs was the SH-1 agricultural aircraft, later redesignated An-2 designed to meet a 1947 Soviet requirement for a replacement for the Polikarpov Po-2 which was used in large numbers as both an agricultural aircraft and a utility aircraft. Antonov designed a large single bay biplane of all-metal construction, with an enclosed cockpit and a cabin with room for seats accommodating 12 passengers.

A series of significant transports followed including the world's largest production aircraft.

Antonov's aircraft (design office prefix An) ranged from the rugged An-2 biplane (which itself is comparatively large for a biplane) through the An-28 reconnaissance aircraft to the massive An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya strategic airlifters (the latter being the world's heaviest aircraft with only one currently in service). The quad turboprop An-12 was primary Soviet military transport aircraft since 1959 (similar to the C-130 Hercules). While less famous, the An-24, An-26, An-30 and An-32 family of twin turboprop, high winged, passenger/cargo/troop transport aircraft are important for domestic/short-haul air services particularly in parts of the world once led by Communist or former Communist governments. The An-72/An-74 series of small jetliners is slowly replacing that fleet and a larger An-70 freighter is under certification.