27 Sep 2012

“Antonov” is NOT a type of airplane

Posted by dumpendebat

If you remember the collapse of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian wars of the 1990s, you may remember that no journalist was able to file an article from the Balkans without mentioning plum brandy (“slivovitz”) at least once per article.

Today’s equivalent of slivovitz in Bosnia seems to be “Antonov bombers,” or just “Antonovs,” in the Sudans.

But here’s the thing, readers: “Antonov” is not a kind of airplane, it’s a manufacturer of airplanes. You wouldn’t talk about “American McDonnell-Douglas fighters” or “Boeings on a bombing run” — that would be silly. Instead, we say “F-15 fighters” or “B-52s on a bombing run.”

Well, it’s just as silly to talk about “Sudanese Antonovs” bombing villages. What the Sudanese air force has is some An-24 “Coke” transport aircraft that they’ve improvised or retrofitted into some sort of homemade bombers. We should be reading about “Sudanese An-24s,” not “Sudanese Antonovs.”

(And, while we’re on the subject of Russian/ex-Soviet aircraft, there’s no such thing as “MIG” or “Mig” — it’s spelled “MiG.” “Mi” for “Mikoyan,” “G” for “Gurevich.” I see newspapers and magazines get this wrong much, much more often than they get it right.)

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2 Responses to ““Antonov” is NOT a type of airplane”

  1. MiGs have long been referred to as MIG, specially in India where they are deployed in a large scale. As for the Antonovs, yes, technically, you shouldn’t refer to them as such, but newspaper sense dictates that the public should be able to relate to the names and should be able to remember them. Thus, Antonov is more catchy than calling it an AN-24…


    Nitin Khanna

  2. >Antonov is more catchy than calling it an AN-24…

    True; you’ve got a good point there. I’m sure that’s exactly why they do it. Still, I bet you not one journalist in ten knows the difference.



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