This North Korean Plane Can Fly Backwards!

This North Korean Plane Can Fly Backwards!

North Korea recently changed the camouflage pattern for one of it's prized planes that is intended to drop commandos into South Korea. But this plane can also fly backwards.

The AN-2 is a Soviet era plane that first flew in 1948. But while it might not survive a battle with a modern jet fighter the plane is ideal for what the North Koreans intend.

Like the Kalashnikov rifle the AN-2 is also a simply but solidly engineered piece of equipment that still works well today.

The An-2 was designed to fulfill a role needed by the Soviet Forest Ministry, both as a crop duster and for utility transport. Its designer, Oleg Antonov, created a large, single-engine biplane, with an enclosed cockpit and room for up to 12 passengers or just over a tonne of cargo. The An-2 would have to operate from rough airfields — not just unpaved, grass airstrips, but dirt roads and forest clearings in the middle of Russia's sparsely settled wilderness. This called for a simple, tough aircraft that would be able to take off and land in very short spaces — an aircraft much easier to maintain than more mechanically complex helicopters.

"The reason the An-2 still flies is that there is really no other aircraft like it," says aviation writer Bernie Leighton, who has flown in an An-2 in Belarus. "If you need an aircraft that can carry 10 soldiers, people or goats, that can take off from anywhere and land anywhere — it is either that or a helicopter.

The bi-plane design allows the plane to fly at speeds as low as 25mph. And not only can it fly backwards but it can also hover.

Because it is so reliable it is perfect for the Koreans. Flying slow and low over the ground it is basically invisible to radar. With a new camouflage patter that is also simple - green on top, blue on the bottom - it is essentially unstoppable in the short-range mission it intended for.

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