The Antonov An-74 [An-72] is a twin-engined turboprop short-to-medium range cargo aircraft capable of transporting 10,000 kg of mixed freight. Cargo pallets require a forklift to access its main deck. The Antonov An-74 aircraft has a rear loading ramp.
History and Features
The An-72 and An-74 get their nickname, Cheburashka, from the large engine intake ducts, which resemble the oversized ears of the popular Soviet animated character of the same name.
The An-74 was initially an upgrade of the An-72 test aircraft, intended to be used in the Arctic and Antarctica; and had the designation An-72A “Arctic”. The aircraft’s main purpose is to deliver cargo, equipment and personnel over short- and medium-range routes in any climatic conditions ranging from −60 to 45 °C (−76 to 113 °F) and at any latitude, including the North Pole, and high altitudes. It can operate to and from low-grade airstrips such as concrete, pebble, ice and snow aerodromes.
Produced in tandem with the An-72, the An-74 can be fitted with wheel-ski landing gear, de-icing equipment and a number of other upgrades allowing the aircraft to support operations in the Arctic or Antarctic environments.
An unusual design feature of the An-74 (as well as An-72) 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 powerplant used is the Lotarev D-36 turbofan engine. The An-74 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 aircraft has a hinged loading ramp with a rear fairing that slides backwards and up to clear the opening. The An-74 has a payload of 7.5 tons including up to ten passengers in the cargo version, or up to 52 seats in the passenger version; the operating ceiling is 10,100 metres (33,100 ft) and cruising speed is 550 to 700 kilometres per hour (300 to 380 km; 340 to 430 mph).
The aircraft may also be used for highly specialized operations: pilotage and vessel escort; establishing and servicing of drifting stations; research operations in Arctic or Antarctic regions; visual ice patrol; fishery reconnaissance.
An aircraft with similar capability is the Boeing YC14.