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Hey, Matt:

At Sandrock Road and Aero Drive, on the Montgomery Field light aircraft parking lot there stands a gigantic yellow biplane with a four-blade prop. It's big enough to carry maybe 15 passengers and dwarfs the other planes parked there. Before it was painted yellow, it was camouflaged, with Russian military markings. Who owns it? Why is it there? I'm plane curious!

-- Billy, the net

It's a Russian Antonov, and AN-2, the workhorse of the Russian civilian (not military) fleet. It's a slow, tough bush-hopper cargo and passenger plane for short hauls in rugged country: 1000-horsepower engine, seats 12, cruises at 120, requires only 350 feet of runway. Over 50-plus years, more Antonovs have been made than any other plane in the world. They are popular imports for flight junkies; quite a few cruise the U.S. skies. Local pilot Carl Hays owns this schoolbus-yellow behemoth made in Poland in 1984. Before coming stateside, it was an Aeroflot passenger plane and a jump-school training plane. He says it's as easy to fly as a Piper Cub.

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