A decommissioned Antonov An-24 aircraft sits by the road, boxed in by buildings in a residential neighborhood of Ulaanbaatar.
Antonov An-24 airplanes were produced in the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1979, and only 1,264 models saw the light of day. China produced another 103 models of an aircraft identical to the Antonov An-24, but under the name Xian Y-7. The Antonov aircraft was equipped with two four-blade propellers powered by a turbine engine (a turboprop). The Antonov An-24 may not be the epitome of elegance and beauty, but was built to withstand harsh conditions, and it did. It was able to take off and land on unpaved surfaces and needed little maintenance.
The sturdiness and reliability of the aircraft was perfect for the challenging environment of Mongolia. In the 1960s and 1970s, several models of Antonov An-24 were acquired by the Mongolian Air Force and by two civil operators, namely MIAT and Hangard Airline. These aircraft are no longer used in Mongolia neither for military nor for civil service. They were instead parked in residential Ulaanbaatar as part of the MIAT fleet.
This particular aircraft currently belongs to the School of Mechanical Engineering and Transportation. It appears abandoned but is in fact, used for educational purposes. The buildings surrounding the aircraft resemble ordinary apartment blocks found in the same neighborhood. Measuring 77 feet (23.53 meters) in length and 26 feet (8.30 meters) in height, the Antonov An-24 looks out of place and makes for a curious sight in the neighborhood.