The Antonov An-24 is a short to medium range passenger aircraft, which led to the development of an entire aircraft family, namely the An-24 base model, the An-26 transport version with loading ramp, the An-30 geological survey version with a modified fuselage and the An-32 "hot-and-high" version with more powerful engines. The aircraft first flew in 1959 and entered service in 1962. An-24 are in a passenger layout - An-24 RV - and a cargo version named An-24T also exists. It is estimated that well above 1000 An-24 have been built.
The type was exported to almost all other states of the Warsaw Pact. The basic Antonov An-24 is still widely used and serves as transport aircraft in the Romanian Air Force.The Antonov An-26 is the transport and cargo version of the An-24 passenger airplane, and made its maiden flight in 1968. The two most important distinctions between the two aircraft are the rear loading ramp and the fewer cabin windows of the Antonov 26. The An-26 serves as medium sized military transport. In addition to carrying cargo, it is equiped with side benches to accommodate troops or paratroops.
Thanks to the rear loading ramp, the An-26 can be operated without much ground support. Avionics include weather/navigation radar, two ADF, radio altimeter, glide path and glide slope receiver, marker beacon receiver, flight director system, and autopilot, directional gyro and flight recorder. An-26 has a large downward-hinged rear ramp/door, hinged to an anchorage mounted on tracks running forward. Ramp/door slides forward under fuselage for direct loading on to cabin floor or for airdropping freight.
When doing so, its rear is supported by the pivoted swinging arm on each side which raises and lowers door in alternative fixed-hinge mode. An electrically powered mobile winch, with a capacity of 2000 kg hoists crates through rear entrance and runs on rail in cabin ceiling to position payload. An electrical conveyor facilitates loading and airdropping freight. The aircraft is the workhorse of the Romanian
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