In 1958, American J. M. Thompson, on a Douglas C-133, lifted a superload of 53.5 tons into the air, climbing 2 km with it. An-22 overlapped this figure by 34.6 tons in 1966, and the lifting height was an impressive 6,000 meters. Ivan Yegorovich Davydov, test pilot of the Antonov Design Bureau, with his crew made this difficult flight, which almost ended in disaster. The fact is that the fuel supply was calculated only for takeoff, climb and landing.
Test pilot Ivan Efremovich Davydov
But the calculations regarding the lifting of 88 103 kg of the record load obviously failed, and during the landing approach three engines stopped at once due to fuel starvation. And on the final part of the landing glide path, the fourth engine also stopped. In principle, Antonov's planes were able to land on completely muffled engines before, but when there was such a gigantic overload in the hold … However, the high professionalism of the crew made it possible to complete everything safely.
The engineers and test pilots did not stop there, and in October 1967 Ivan Davydov raised 100, 4446 tons to a height of 7848 meters. This time, the An-22 numbered 01-03 did not disappoint, and the record took place without incident.
Test pilots of the Air Force Research Institute, from left to right: A. Timofeev, M. Popovich and Yu. Romanov
On February 19, 1972, at the stage of state tests, the crew of Maria Lavrentievna Popovich, which included the co-pilot A. S. Timofeev, navigator A. N. Yadryshnikov, radio operator R. D. Pashkov, flight engineer V. I. Slepenkov, flight technician N. A. Maksimov, flight mechanic V. I. Martynyuk, leading engineer N. G. Zhukovsky and sports commissar V. A Abramychev, decided on a new world achievement. At an altitude of 6000 meters, their An-22 broke five world records at once, having flown 2000 km along the closed route Chkalovsky - Syktyvkar - Chkalovsky. The record was set off for the class of turboprop aircraft and included the carriage of goods of 20, 35, 40, 45 and 50 tons. The average speed of the record An-22 in this flight was 593, 318 km / h. With the same load, just two days later, Popovich's crew flew 1000 km in a "circle" Chkalovsky - Vologda - Chkalovsky at an average speed of 608, 449 km / h.
Test pilot Sergei Grigorievich Dedukh
On October 21, 1974, the crew of the Honored Test Pilot of the USSR Sergei Grigorievich Dedukh (co-pilot Yu. A. Romanov, navigator V. K. Muravyov, flight operator V. A. Popov, flight engineer I. V. Shorokhov, flight technician A. F. Smirnov, flight mechanic A. A. Yudichev, leading engineer V. I. Yasinavichyus, sports commissar V. A. Abramychev) covered 5000 km on An-22 (USSR - 09945) with 30 tons on board. The route passed from Chkalovsky to Yamal and back at an average speed of 597, 283 km / h. The An-22 record cascade was continued three days later by test pilot of the Air Force Research Institute Yuri Romanov with co-pilot A. A. Levushkin, navigator V. K. Muravyov, radio operator V. A. Popov, flight engineer I. V. Shorokhov, flight technician A. F Smirnov, flight mechanic A. A. Yudichev, leading engineer V. I. Yasinavichyus and sports commissioner V. A. Abramychev. They traveled along a similar path with 35 tons of cargo at an average speed of 589.639 km / h.
Serial An-22 UR-64460 (0103) in the Museum of Speyer (Germany, photo by I. Goseling)
The final achievement of "Antey" was the delivery in 1975 of 40 tons of payload to Yamal and return with it back to Chkalovsky. The average speed in this flight was kept at 584.042 km / h, and the crew was headed by the commander of the VTA Georgy Nikolayevich Pakilev. In addition to the commander-in-chief of VTA, the crew included both new faces and already experienced record holders: co-pilot N. P. Shibaev, navigator A. E. Zamota, flight operator A. A. Yablonsky, flight engineer I. V. Shorokhov, flight technician A. F Smirnov, flight mechanic A. A. Yudichev, leading engineer V. I. Yasinavichyus and sports commissar V. A. Abramychev.
"Antey" in Afghan color at the air show "MAKS-2009"
Factory tests, as is often the case, did not go completely smoothly. One of the dangerous incidents happened on April 12, 1967. At an altitude of 1800 meters, the fourth copy of the An-22 №01-04 ceased to obey the elevator. Along with this, the automatic transition from booster control to servo steering did not take place, and the car began to gain altitude. Attempts to move the control wheel to a position from itself did not lead to anything, and with an increase in the angle of attack, the An-22 lost speed. The commander of the aircraft, Vladimir Ivanovich Tersky, managed to remove the flaps, bring the engine to takeoff mode and at a minimum speed of 180 km / h, put the aircraft into a dive. As soon as the Antey picked up speed, the crew switched control to the servos and successfully landed. The reason was found out on the ground: a sensor was unsuccessfully connected to measure the movement of the booster spool.
An-22, which had not yet completed factory tests, was actively involved in various work, since its transport compartment allowed a lot. So, in June 1967, "Antey" No. 01-05 delivered to the French Le Bourget almost the entire composition of the Soviet delegation, together with a mock-up of the "Vostok" spacecraft. A month later, four Antheas at once made an indelible impression on compatriots and Western military attachés during the aviation festival in Domodedovo.
Aircraft USSR-09334 in the Air Force Museum in Monino (photo by D. Kushnarev, 2005-18-06)
The Krug anti-aircraft missile systems demonstrate the possibility of loading onto the An-22 Antey aircraft. Domodedovo, 1967
Later, until perestroika, for reasons of secrecy, military equipment was not shown to the general public.
French attachés oversee the flights. Domodedovo, 1967
A delegation from a friendly country in front of the An-22 Antey transport plane. Domodedovo, 1967
Test pilot Vladimir Ivanovich Tersky, who piloted one of the aircraft, later said:
“In June 1967, the tests were suspended, and we flew to Sescha to prepare for the aviation parade in honor of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. Two of our planes were already there and trained: "one" and "troika". Our “four was supposed to fly third in the wake formation. And we were carrying three missile systems on tracked vehicles with a total weight of 60 tons. Our task is to deliver them to Domodedovo exactly (counting by seconds), without turning off the engines, to unload them in front of the stands and just as precisely at a given time to leave the airfield … In the front line behind the leader of the group I. Ye. Davydov flew Yu. N. Ketov and closed the group on the "four" V. I. Tersky. To have a stunning effect on Western competitors, we added zeros to the existing numbers on the sides of our aircraft, so our group appeared before the audience as part of the air army: after all, they participated in the parade of the 10th, 30th and 40th aircraft. In this way, they tried to create the illusion that the Air Force units had at least 40 An-22 aircraft”.
Nikolai Yakubovich corrected Tersky in his book "The military transport giant An-22" Antey ", indicating that aircraft with numbers 03, 10 and 40 participated in the air festival. The fourth An-22 (USSR-76591), who arrived recently from Le Bourget, and the "troika" in the sky was engaged in the transfer of the "Circle" air defense system and operational-tactical missiles.
The An-22 began state tests directly in October 1967, and they took place at the branch of the Air Force Research Institute. Most of the work was done at the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow, where they even had to reconstruct the runway to receive such a heavy transport aircraft.
Test pilot Anatoly Sergeevich Timofeev
As part of the program, the crew of test pilot Anatoly Timofeev and test navigator Mikhail Kotlyuba on October 24, 1967, in 12 hours and 9 minutes without intermediate landings, passed through the entire Soviet Union from Chkalovsky to the Far East Vozdvizhenka. The cycle of state tests included the mandatory parachute landing of soldiers, military equipment and special cargo. In 1968, pilot work began on the dumping of cargo platforms weighing from 5 to 20 tons. The entire landing program was very difficult for both the equipment and the flight crew. An-22 took part in this for the first time, and it was not fully known how the aircraft would behave when the center of the aircraft was changed during the flight.
Test pilot Vladimir Ivanovich Tersky
Test pilot Vladimir Tersky wrote about this:
“It was interesting to visit the center of 43% of the MAR (average aerodynamic chord). This is very close to neutral centering, and the aircraft actively reacted to the scanty steering wheel deviations (literally in fractions of a millimeter). Accurate piloting under such conditions, of course, was impossible."
The experience of landing paratroopers was consolidated a few months later at the Airborne Forces exercises in the Baltic republics, when Antey worked together with An-12.