World's Largest Commerical Turboprop, The Antonov An-22

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There are only a handful of Antonov An-22s flying these days, and only one in commercial service, operated by Ukraine-based Antonov Design Bureau. Wherever it goes in the world, it generates a a lot of local interest, due to its rarity, size and noise. This past week, it visited Manchester Airport twice, initially to take a spare engine out to Holguin, Cuba, to rescue a stranded Thomas Cook Airways A330 which had blown a compressor blade. It then returned with the damaged Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engine, and finally departed empty to Leipzig, Germany, to await its next charter.

The giant An-22 lifts off runway 23Right, dwarfing the A320 on the terminal.

The turboprop-powered behemoth is so large, that a double-decker Airbus A380, the world's largest airliner, doesn't look that big any more !

With its 8 contra-rotating props on 4 giant engines, the An-22 departs Manchester, and who knows when it will return ? It's last visit was 13 years ago....

Photos: Nigel Howarth.

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