Paul Filmer’s Belarus series continues as he flies on board two Russian classics, the Antonov An-26 and Mil Mi-2.

After the main business of flying in the An-12 for three sectors the day before, day two in Belarus was a more relaxing day, with extra flights available if requested.

I’d decided to fly an An-26 and Mi-2 on this day.

I’ve only flown one An-26, which was in Colombia, and as these aircraft are pretty hard to fly on, I thought it was an opportunity worth grasping!

We went through informal security again at Minsk National before being bussed out to the ramp to meet our aircraft.


Belavia Boeing 737 at Minsk National

EW-328TG is an An-26B belonging to Genex, and this flight would be a simple up and down affair, coming back to Minsk National.


Genex An-26B at Minsk National

As per usual the rear ramp was lowered while we taxied, before being raised for take-off.

It wasn’t long before we approached Minsk-1 again, but instead of landing like we did the previous day in the An-12, we did a missed approach, which allowed me to shoot ARP 407 from the air. This was capped off by a wing-waggle as we passed over the runway at high speed.


ARP 407 at Minsk-1

A little while later the ramp was lowered while in flight, except this time the ramp stuck half way down. The poor loadmaster struggled with the ramp controls for a while before the flight engineer came back to help out.


An-26B flapping ramp

Even using the manual backup of a hand-pump made no difference, so I suspect we lost all hydraulics from the ramp system.

It was time to land, so we landed flat and fast, so not to scrape the flapping ramp, and as we engaged reverse pitch the ramp tucked itself neatly under the fuselage, just as it should do.



Next stop was a bus to the airfield of Borovaya where we had the opportunity to fly in either a Mi-2 or an An-2.

This is a general aviation airfield operated by the DOSAAF and includes a very extensive outdoor museum.



The Mi-2 was fun and the flight lasted much longer than expected. One of the more unusual activities was the use of a large truck as an external power supply to start the helicopter.


Starting the Mi-2 with a truck

While others flew the An-2 I wandered the museum and took photos of some of the flying activity.


A pair of Mi-2s at Borovaya, the nearest one being the one I just disembarked

Eventually it was time to leave. Some of the group went back to Minsk National to fly the Il-76, while the rest of us went for a beer and food.


Mi-2 flight

The following morning I departed for Warsaw, but as I couldn’t connect for my flights home, I had an extra day spare in Warsaw.


Polish Air Force W-3, Warsaw

Here a couple of us met up with some local Polish photographers and they kindly showed us around the Warsaw airport spots for photography.


Wizz Air A320, Warsaw

We started off at the North Eastern edge of the airfield where you could shoot the taxiing aircraft before take-off.


LOT ERJ175ER, the 600th E-Jet at Warsaw

It wasn’t long before the light became bad, so we adjourned for lunch.


LOT Retro ERJ175LR at Warsaw

The next spot was to the South West, via some unimproved roads next to farmer’s fields, before coming to a mound where permanent benches had been supplied exactly for our purpose.


Polish Air Force Mi-8 at Warsaw

This was a pretty good spot, and although it was a hot day, there was surprisingly little heat-haze.


LOT Boeing 787, Warsaw

This is right next to where the pair of Il-14 and An-24 are located for the fire and rescue service to practice on.


Il-14 at Warsaw

The following day I departed for home via Copenhagen and Keflavik again, with no snags.


Icelandair Boeing 757 at Keflavik

It was a great couple of days with good company with old and new friends.