Our story begins in 2002 where “Little Annie” an Antonov AN-2 aircraft was adopted from a “Siberian orphanage” (UTair Cargo) and flown all the way from Tyumen (Siberia) to Cape Town and then back to Pretoria, where she currently resides with the Just Love Mission family.
The trip, which had to overcome various administrative nightmares regarding flight clearance issues, weather, corruption, theft of precious avgas fuel and more, should have taken two and half weeks. Instead, it took two and a half months to cover the 17 180 km (see map below), consuming approximately 19 500 litres of fuel and 470 litres of oil.
The AN-2 aircraft was first flown on 31 August 1947 and after 67 years (1947-2014) is still affectionately nicknamed “Annushka” by the Russians, or “Annie” in English. Inspired by the classic comic strip and subsequent film “Annie”, about a young orphan who through her positive outlook and undying hope of being reunited with her family, impacted the lives of those around her in a meaningful way, it was only natural that ZU-JLM should assume the name “Little Annie”. She was thus adopted for use in the Southern African theatre of operation primarily in a humanitarian role.