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S7 Airlines' Il-86 at Domodedovo airport
Role Wide-body airliner
Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight December 22, 1976
Introduction 1980
Status Operational
Primary users S7 Airlines,
Atlant-Soyuz Airlines
Produced 1977-1992
Number built 106[1]
Variants Ilyushin Il-96

The Ilyushin Il-86 is a medium-range wide-body jet airliner. It was the USSR's first wide-body and the world's second four-engined wide-body. Designed and tested by the Ilyushin design bureau in the 1970s, it was certificated by the Soviet aircraft industry, manufactured in the USSR (and Poland) and marketed by the USSR.

The Il-86 had engines more typical of the 1960s, spent a decade in development and failed to enter service for the Moscow Olympics as originally intended. Only 106 were built. The type was used by Aeroflot and successor post-Soviet airlines and only three were exported. By December 2009, 16 remained in service[1], of them four with the Russian Air Force. In service, it gained recognition as a very safe and reliable machine which did what had been asked of it.[2]

The Il-86 was the last Soviet airliner to enter service and may be considered to mark the peak of the Soviet airliner design school. Its history illustrated Brezhnev stagnation issues such as favouritism, doctrinal political control over science and technology, technological obsolescence, diplomatic isolation and commercial decline.





An Il-86 of Aeroflot Don

In the mid-1960s, the USA and Western Europe planned airliners seating up to twice the then-maximum of some 200 passengers: airbuses, as they were known. The Soviet leadership wanted to match them with an aerobus (Russian: аэробус). Alongside the propaganda motive, the USSR genuinely needed an aerobus. Aeroflot expected over 100 million passengers a year[3] within a decade (the 100th million annual passenger was indeed carried on 29 December 1976.[4])

First to respond was OKB-153, the bureau led by Oleg Antonov. It proposed a 724-seat version of the An-22 airlifter.[5] The project was promoted until 1969, ultimately with a 605-passenger interior (383 on the upper deck and 223 on the lower).[6] It did not go ahead due to fears that it would be old-fashioned and because the Kiev-based bureau was close to the deposed Nikita Khrushchev.[7][8]


Many airports had terminals too small for aerobuses. Soviet aviation research institutes thus elaborated a concept of passengers loading and unloading their own luggage into and from the aircraft: "the luggage at hand system" (Russian: "система «багаж с собой»"; transliterated: "sistyema bagazh s soboy").[9] Soviet aviation journalist Kim Bakshmi described this (at its ultimate) as a "bus-stop" operation: "One arrives five minutes prior to departure, buys oneself a ticket on board the aircraft, hangs one's coat next to the seat and places one's bag or suitcase nearby."[10]. Taking luggage into the cabin was studied, but necessitated a 3m/10ft fuselage extension with a 350-seat capacity[11]. To avoid this, passengers were to deposit their luggage in underfloor compartments as they entered the airliner. Airbus Industrie studied such an arrangement in the mid-1970s,[12]. Lockheed implemented it into the L-1011 TriStar in 1973 at the request of Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) and possibly also to suit potential Soviet buyers (see below).[13] Many Soviet airports also had weak surfaces and the aerobus had to match the ground loadings of existing airliners. This called for complex multi-wheel landing gear.[14]

In October 1967, the Soviet government approved a Ministry of Civil Aviation (Aeroflot) specification for an aerobus. This called for 350 seats and a range of 3,600 kms (1,900 nmis) with a 40-tonne payload or 5,800 km/3,100 nmi with seats taken but no freight. The airliner had to operate from smaller airports (classified as Klass "B" and "V" [Russian: класс "Б", "В"] or "Class B/C" by the Soviets) 2,600 m (8,500 ft) runways.[15]

In the second half of the 1960s, OKB-240 (as the Ilyushin bureau was formally known) was restoring positions lost (with Yakovlev, in favour of Tupolev and Antonov) during the Khrushchev era[16] and was well placed to secure design of the aerobus. When the Soviet cabinet's defence industry committee promoted the Aeroflot specification on September 8, 1969 to a preliminary project, (Russian: аванпроект; transliterated: avanproyekt),[17] it entrusted it to Ilyushin. The bureau received specific operational requirements for the aerobus on February 22, 1970.

Ilyushin now faced four challenges: configuration (layout or "shape"), powerplant, automation (avionics) and manufacturing capacity.

Conceptual development

Ilyushin began work on the aerobus in late 1969, initially by assessing the development potential of existing aircraft. An enlarged Il-62 (the Il-62-250) would have had a 30-tonne payload, 259 seats and a 6.8 metre/22 ft longer fuselage[18]: a virtual analogue of the Douglas DC-8 "Super Sixty" series. Other proposed Il-62 modifications involved double-deck and "two fuselages side-by-side" developments. There was also a project to "civilianise" the Il-76.

From March 1970[19] the bureau developed all-new designs under the Il-86 designation. Instead of the "appropriate technology" approach of the Il-62, these designs were to have powered controls, complex high-lift devices and advanced automation which would reduce the number of flightdeck crew.[20]

An early avanproyekt was shown to the Soviet leadership at an exhibition of civil aviation novelties at Vnukovo-2 Airport near Moscow on May 17, 1971.[21][22][23] A scale model with the designation of "Il-86" showed the "self-loading" concept with integral boarding stairs, below-deck luggage stores, and below-deck midships galley. It had a twin-aisle interior with nine-abreast seating in a "3-3-3" layout. Ilyushin considered it politic to make the interior wider at 6.08 m (19.9 ft) than any widebody airliner at the time, except the Boeing 747.[24] On this basis, on 9 March 1972,[25] the bureau was asked to proceed with detailed design.

The difference between the 1971 model and the eventual Il-86 was in configuration: the model looked like an Il-62. At that time, the Central Aero and Hydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI) favoured the clean-winged, rear-engined, T-tailed configuration for airliners. The BAC Three-Eleven[26] and BAC/CASA/MBB Europlane[27] projects had similar configurations.

The configuration issue

The configuration of heavy jet aircraft was a politically sensitive issue in the USSR. Aircraft designer Leonid Selyakov[28] states this of the underwing-engine US-pioneered layout which gradually became standard for jet airliners: "The configuration of the В-47, taken on strength by the US Air Force ... brought forth a veritable storm of critical opinions from [Soviet] aviation scientists. Responsible TsAGI officials and industry leaders robustly called that aircraft 'utter nonsense' (similar opinions were expressed of the Boeing 747)."

Similar controversies were known in Western aeronautical circles[29] but typified Soviet dogmatism which held that problems had immutable, "scientifically-correct" solutions[30].

Ilyushin therefore had to stress that it had first in the world used podded engines suspended from pylons beneath and ahead of the wing, on the experimental Il-22 four-engined jet bomber of 1946 (first use of this designation).[31] Having thus been presented the Il-86's ultimate configuration as indigenously Soviet, the bureau could at last show it in public in 1973, six years after publication of the aerobus specification and four years after the design assignment.[32][33] A modern six-window flightdeck followed, in place of the 18-to-20 window glazing of the Il-18, Il-62 and Il-76.

The powerplant issue

The main problem facing the Il-86 project was the lack of a suitable engine. It was never resolved. By the close of the 1960s, the USA and the UK had turbofans with bypass ratios of 4 or 5 to 1. The first Soviet large turbofan, the Lotarev D-18T, did not appear before the mid-1980s.[34] The Soloviev D-30, originally intended for the Il-86, was the most advanced Soviet civil aeroengine. It had a bypass ratio of 2.4 to 1 and aerodynamic clamshell thrust reversers. It failed to attain the required thrust, however: "only after the lapse of three years that were spent on preparing the advanced development project did it become clear that these engines would not provide the necessary take-off performance."[35] The less-advanced Kuznetsov NK-8 series engine, adopted on March 26, 1975, had a bypass ratio of 1.15 to 1 and drag-inducing grilles over its cascade thrust reversers. Both these engines had high specific fuel consumptions and were noisy. Being ultimate developments of smaller engines, they could not offer growth to future Il-86s.

The automation issue

The appropriate/intermediate technology principles to which most Soviet airliners before the Il-86 had been designed meant that they had typically five-member flight crews. The design and entry into service in 1972 of the Tu-154, an airliner built to high technology principles (more automation, less human input), showed that Soviet science lagged behind in the development of avionics which would remove the need for navigators and radio operators. A programme of avionics development was mounted to enable the Il-86 to operate in most weathers with a three-member flight crew, matching Western technology of the time.

The manufacturing capacity issue

The shortage of manufacturing facilities for the Il-86 was a problem from the outset: "The rapid modernisation of the Soviet Air Force ... has left limited scope for the expansion of commercial production ... the lack of production capacity is being remedied partly by ... international cooperation."[36] This meant invloving the Polish aircraft industry in the project.

Interest in foreign technology

An Il-86 of Aeroflot

The Soviets tried to import technology to solve the powerplant (and to an extent the avionics and manufacturing capacity) issues. The attempts took two directions. First was wholesale technology transfer similar to the Li-2 deal of the 1930s. This would have delayed Il-86 development, since the programme would have been demoted to a reserve status. The second direction was to import individual systems and items. This would have speeded Il-86 development. The fact that Il-86 development was protracted indicates that for long periods the programme was pursued as backup insurance in case wholesale technology transfer failed.

Interest in alternative foreign aircraft

Before the Boeing 747 had flown, a Ministry of Civil Aviation delegation visited the USA for a series of detailed sales presentations on the type lasting three days. At the 1971 Paris Salon, Ilyushin bureau head Genrikh Novozhilov and Boeing's Joe Sutter are claimed to have arranged an informal technology trade-off. Over supper in a Paris restaurant, the Soviet side is claimed to have ceded information on titanium technology to the Americans, while the latter, "sketching on the tablecloth," ceded information on "the structural and aerodynamic amity of the aeroelastic wing."[37] Soviet interest in buying the 747s continued until the end of détente in the late 1970s.[38]

At the peak of détente, on March 11, 1974, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar arrived in Moscow for three days of sales presentations and demonstrations.[39][40] The TriStar matched the Il-86 in size and performance and had development potential. Negotiations to buy 30 TriStars of the L-1011-385-250 version and licence-produce up to 100 a year in a new factory employing 80,000 people[36] continued until mid-1976.[41] Any residual will to export TriStars was scotched when US President Jimmy Carter made human rights a US foreign policy factor. TriStar exports would have needed Coordinating Committee clearance: the type embodied advanced technology banned from potential enemies. In 1978, the US Department of Commerce vetoed export of 12 General Electric CF6-50 engines ordered by the USSR for planned long-range Il-86s.[42]

Attempts at illicit technology acquisition

By analogy with other aircraft programmes[43], a third direction in the efforts to acquire foreign technology may have involved illicit action along the lines of the reverse engineering of the Tu-4 from the B-29 and the copying of the Rolls-Royce Nene jet engine as the Klimov VK-1. Oblique reference to this comes in an account of the An-124 by the then-powerplant head of the Antonov bureau, V. G. Anisyenko: "The MAP leadership wanted to have a uniform large engine also capable of civil aviation applications, such as the Il-86. The most suitable analogue from this viewpoint was considered to be the Rolls-Royce RB.211-22. To purchase it, in 1976 a MAP procurement party went to Great Britain, headed by engine construction deputy minister Dondukov ... Our ultimate task was to copy the RB.211-22, for which purpose we had to buy not fewer than eight examples ... The English ... would only sell us the engine in quantities ... to power no fewer than 100 aircraft. As a result, we did not get a sample ... "[44]

Design, testing and certification

The design process at Ilyushin was managed by Sergey Ilyushin's successor as head of the bureau, Genrikh Novozhilov. The timescale announced in 1973 envisaged first flight in 1976 and service entry in time for the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

The prototype flew at Khodynka airfield (where Ilyushin's experimental factory was) on December 22, 1976 (Soviet airliners often flew before the close of calendar years due to the requirements of Five-Year Plans). It was announced that the type had a patented electromagnetic pulse deicing system.[45][46] which used 500 times less energy than conventional deicers.[47] It is claimed that over 50 new technological processes were introduced into Soviet practice as a result of the Il-86 programme.[48]

The initial test programme was flown by Ilyushin staff, ending two months ahead of schedule on October 20, 1978. Other sources claim that these tests were completed on 22 September 1978[49][50].(According to a faster schedule announced at the time of the first flight, Ilyushin tests were to have ended in time for the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution on November 7, 1977.[51]) In-house testing involved speeds up to Mach 0.93 and bank angles up to 11 degrees greater than specified.

Initial certification flying by pilots independent of Ilyushin ended on June 6, 1977. State acceptance trials began on April 24, 1979 and ended on December 24, 1980. Certification by Gosaviaregistr SSSR [the USSR State Aviation Registry] was granted under certificate number 10-86.[52] The Il-86 entered Aeroflot service on 26 December the same year[53]. The service-entry deadline of summer 1980, announced by Minister of Civil Aviation Boris Bugayev in 1977[54] had passed, however, and the Il-86 missed the Moscow Olympics in the summer of 1980.

Overall development of the Il-86 occupied over a decade. The length of this period was due to the sensitivity of the airliner's configuration, problems with its powerplant, prolonged avionics development and the low priority of civil as opposed to military aircraft.[55] In its earlier stages, the Il-86 programme was also held back by hopes of US airliner imports. Certificating the Il-86 to the very demanding set of Soviet and Comecon standards called NLGS-2 also delayed progress; it was the first Soviet aircraft to undergo a full certification programme since certification was introduced in the USSR in 1967 and became mandatory five years later.[56]

Undeveloped versions

Only the base version of the Il-86 entered service. Different versions were mooted but failed to enter service.

On June 26, 1972, a long-range version of the Il-86, the Il-86D (for Russian: "дальний"; transliterated: "dal’niy"; meaning "long-range"), was ordered into development by the Soviet cabinet. Design was completed in June 1976. The Il-86D would have had a marginally extended wing span, carried additional fuel, and had a range of some 8,500 km (4,600 nmi). Later announcements stated that a version of the Il-86D with Lotarev D-18 engines had entered development in March 1975.[57] This version would have had a 147,500 kg (325,000 lb) empty weight, a 300,000 kilo/660,000 pound maximum take-off weight, a fuel capacity of some 150,000 kg (330,000 lb), a wing area of 325 m² (5,300 ft²), and a range of 10,200 km (5,500 nmi). It evolved into the Il-96.

A "minimum-change" development of the Il-86, stated to have been designated Il-86V, was test-flown on 1 June 1982 and was ready for service by 27 April 1985. It was said to be a 450 seater with the underfloor vestibules fitted with seats, 3-4-3 main deck seating and reduced seat pitch.[58] The version is not known to have entered service.

In the 1980s, there were moves to fit the Il-86 with RB211-22 engines.[59] Again designated Il-86V, this would have had a range of over 9,000 km (4,860 nmi) and/or increased payload. Another 450-seater Il-86V powered by RB211-524G engines was also projected. Amid the disintegration of the Soviet economy these ideas did not progress.

In 1991, there were moves to fit the Il-86 with Franco-American CFM56-5C2 engines.[60] Finances precluded progress. In 1995, International Aero Engines offered the V2500 engine to five Il-86 operators with proposals to re-engine 25 aircraft.[61][62] The offer was not taken up.

Freight or combined passenger-freight versions of the Il-86 are not known to have been proposed.



All-metal low-wing land monoplane with four wing-mounted jet engines.[63][64][65][66]


Cantilever three-spar structure of modified trapezoid planform. Centre section integral with fuselage. Inboard sections, outboard sections and detachable leading and trailing edges. High-lift devices comprise full-span six-segment leading edge slats (contiguous at engine pylons) at up to 17.5% of chord (drooping to 35°), two-segment fixed-vane double-slotted trailing edge flaps occupying some 75% of the span (deploying to 40°) and five-segment spoilers (outboards used as spoilerons at high speeds, inboards used as lift dumpers on the ground). Two-segment outboard ailerons for low speed roll control. Boundary layer fences over pylons. Engines suspended from the wing on pylons act as anti-flutter weights. Trim range is 16-33% of mean aerodynamic chord.


Circular-section structure of frames and stringers with a continuous main deck and lower decks fore and aft of the centre section. Rectangular windows in most interframe bays, eight ICAO Type 1a passenger doors on the main deck and three more on the lower deck portside; two freight hold doors and a galley supply door on the lower deck starboard. The main deck houses the flightdeck, two wardrobes, eight toilets, two pantries and a three-section passenger cabin. The lower deck houses three entry vestibules/luggage stores with hydraulic boarding stairs to ground level and fixed stairs to the main deck, a midships galley linked with the main deck by an electric lift, two freight holds (fore and aft of the passenger facilities), an avionics bay and two technical bays. The entire accommodation is pressurised and air-conditioned with "earphones for music or on-board cinema."[67]


Cantilevered trapezoid planform swept-back surfaces. Two-segment elevators and rudder. Tailplane area 96.5 m² (1,039 ft²); incidence adjustable between 2° and 12° by electric motors commanded by yoke trim thumbwheels and console trim wheels. Fin area 56.06 m² (603.4 ft²). Landing gear of near-conventional layout, with a twin-wheeled nose leg and three four-wheel bogie main gear legs (centreline and two outers). Track is 9.9 m (/32 ft 5.5 in).


Four Kuznetsov NK-86 two-spool turbofans. Five-stage LP compressors, six-stage HP compressors, annular combustor cans, single-stage HP turbine, two-stage LP turbine. Cascade thrust reversers canted 15° from the horizontal. Pneumatic starters (airborne relights use the windmill effect). Forward-facing ejectors blow away detritus during taxi. International Standard Atmosphere hourly fuel consumption per engine is 7.7 t (16,975 lb) at maximum continuous rated thrust, 6 t/13,230 lb at nominal maximum thrust, 5.1 t (11,243 lb) at 85% thrust, 4.2 t/9260 lb at 70%, 3.6 t (7,937 lb) at 60%, 2.45 t (5,400 lb) at 40% and 1 t (2,205 lb) at idle. Overall hourly fuel consumption at long-range cruise and 190 t (419,000 lb) is 9.75 t (21,495 lb) reducing to 7.79 t (17,174 lb) at 140 t (308,650 lb). Outboard engine pylons on the latter two-thirds of all Il-86s are marginally extended to cut drag.

A VSU-10 APU generates power and heats/cools the interior on the ground, provides engine start air.


Hydraulically driven. An SAU-1T-2 automatic flight control system offers assisted manual or automatic flight, with no manual option. Four independent hydraulic systems power all flight controls and the built-in airstairs. Fluid is to the NGZh, rather than AMG, formula.


Pizhma-1 navigational system with Omega inputs. GPS transceivers and TCAS fitted retrospectively during the 1990s. Pizhma-1 can be used throughout the flight from departure terminal area to landing and taxy to stand. Pizhma-1 has full-time roll and yaw dampers.

Airfield approach aids enable instrument landing system coupled approaches to ICAO Category II weather minima.

Other radio aids include VOR and DME receivers, a weather radar and Warsaw Pact identification aids. Cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders standard.

Four GT-40PCh6 engine generators, the APU or ground sources supply 200/115 V, 400 Hz current to the primary system or two secondary systems (36 V/400 Hz AC and 27 V DC). Consumers include high-lift devices, tailplane trim, deicing, galley lift and interior services.

Service life

Twenty years or 20,000 landings or 30,000 flight hours prior to major servicing[68].


Powerplant[69] four Kuznetsov NK-86 two-spool turbofan engines, up to 127.5 kN (13,000 kgf, 28,665 lbf); thrust-to-weight ratio at maximum takeoff weight 0.242; VSU-10 APU
Overall dimensions span 48.06 m (157 ft 8 in), length 60.21 m (197 ft 7 in), nominal height 15.68 m (51 ft 5 in)
Wing area 300 m² (3,229 ft²), sweep 35° at quarter chord, mean aerodynamic chord 7.57 m (24 ft 10 in), aspect ratio 7, dihedral 6°43’, incidence 3° root, -1° tip, loading at maximum takeoff weight 672 kg/m² (133.15 lb/ft²)
Undercarriage track 9.9 m (32 ft 5.5 in), wheelbase 21.05 m (69 ft) to outboard gear; 22.32 m (73 ft 3 in) to centre gear, ground turning circle 22 m (72 ft 2 in) minimum pavement width, 36 m (119 ft) typical pavement width
Crew flightdeck three (four in USSR and Russian service due to industrial practices), cabin 11 (service-typical)
Accommodation all-economy 350 passengers, 9-abreast (3-3-3), 84 cm (34 in) seat pitch, mixed-class 320 passengers: 18 first, 56 business; 246 economy, freight capacity 16,000 cubic metres/565,035 cubic feet, three compartments
Weights maximum ramp 216,950 kg (478,290 lb), maximum takeoff (MTOW) 215,000 kg (458,560 lb), maximum landing 175,000 kg (385,800 lb), maximum fuel 86,000 kg (189,630 lb), maximum payload 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) early, 42,000 kg (92,594 lb) developed, operational empty 117,500 kg (259,043 lb) early, 115,000 kg (253,531 lb) late
Field lengths takeoff balanced field length in ISA conditions 2,800 m (9,190 ft), landing in ISA conditions 1,200 m (3,940 ft)
Sea-level rate of climb 15 m/s (2,950 ft/min) at 210,000 kg (463,000 lb); service-typical between 5 m/s (1,000 ft/min) and 10 m/s (2,000 ft/min)
Speeds typical safe climb-out (V2) 295 km/h (159 kt), initial climb 550 km/h (297 kt), climb 510 km/h (275 kt), cruise (VNO) maximum 0.88 Mach at 11,000 m (36,000 ft) to 12,000 m (40,000 ft)(best cruise altitude 11,400 m [37,000 ft]), 0.82 M to 0.805 M on under-210-minute sectors service-typical, 0.782 M long-range , never-exceed (VNE) 670 km/h (362 kt, 416 mph) indicated air speed (IAS) to 8,200 m (27,000 ft) or 750 km/h (416 kt, 466 mph) IAS above that altitude, approach 410 km/h (254 kt), typical runway threshold (VAT) 270 km/h (146 kt at 175,000 kg (385,800 lb), stall 330 km/h (178 kt) clean configuration at 210 t; 250 km/h (135 kt) with 25° flap, 210 t; 234 km/h (126 kt) 40° flap, 210 t
Practical air ranges (full ICAO fuel reserves; MTOW) maximum payload 3,400 km (1,835 nmi, 2,113 mi), full passenger load and full tanks 4,000 km (2,160 nmi, 2,485 mi), 300 passengers and full tanks 5,000 km (2,700 nmi, 3,106 mi), maximum still air (ferry) 8,200 km (4,428 nm, 5,095 mi)
Typical fuel consumption 14,000 kg (30,865 lb) first hour, 12,000 kg (26,455 lb) per hour thereafter


Il-86 provision to Aeroflot did not constitute a sale: it was part of the centralised Soviet supply and allocation system coordinated by offices called Gosplan and Gossnab which controlled the entirety of planning and distribution in the USSR (except the black market). As part of a similar supply provision within the Comecon, Lot was allocated four Il-86s as barter for component manufacture; the airline deferred deliveries which were cancelled by 1987.[70] In 1988 the East German airline Interflug is said to have prepared to take delivery of two Il-86s and to have allocated them the registrations DDR-AAA and DDR-AAB. Instead, that same year the airline took delivery of two Airbus A310s.[71]

Selling the Il-86 commercially (which under the Soviet system meant solely exports) was the job of the Soviet foreign trade organisation V/O Aviaeksport. The division of responsibilities between a design bureau (acting like naval architects) which designed an aeroplane, an independent factory which constructed it, independent service facilities which repaired it and an independent organisation which marketed it alongside designs by other bureaux, has been seen as diluting responsibility for the fate of a product.[72]

The Il-86 prototype was displayed at the Paris Salon International de l'Aéronautique in 1977. It was noted that its interior used patented fire-resistant materials and hydraulics employed a fire-resistant fluid.[73] At that time a version without the "luggage at hand" system was offered, seating 375 or alternatively weighing 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) less and having longer range. This version offered 7% lower seat-mile operational costs.[74] The type was again displayed at Paris in 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1985, the Farnborough Air Show in 1984 and other world air events.

Setting records was a traditional Soviet way of promoting aviation products. On Tuesday September 22, 1981, an Il-86 flown by Commander G Volokhov and Second Pilot A Tyuryumin set Fédération Aéronautique Internationale records for flying payloads of 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60 and 65 tonnes over a 2,000 km closed circuit at an average of 975.3 km per hour.[75] Two days later, the same crew and machine set FAI records for flying payloads of 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80-tonne payloads over a 1,000 km closed circuit at an average of 962 km/h.[76] Of these 18 records, one was broken by a Tu-144 in 1983, five were superseded or discontinued and 12 still stood in 2010.

In September 1982 the type made a sales call on Bulgaria, followed by calls in July 1983 on Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Potential buyers received no hard information on the type in advance.[77] Little solid information was given during the sales calls: "constructor Novosilov side-stepped all questions [on fuel consumption] ... [the] chief pilot ... provided a measure of veiled explanation: 'The consumption of the Il-86 is not higher than that of the Il-18,' he said." While welcomed as “proof of friendship with the USSR,”[78] these sales calls failed to attract orders. Observers tacitly noted that the aircraft marked a 10/15-year lag by Soviet civil aviation compared with the West.

The sole export order for the Il-86 − and the sole commercial transactions involving factory-built rather than secondhand examples − was by China Xinjiang Airlines which received three aircraft in 1990. The rest were allocated by Aeroflot region and Soviet Air Force unit as follows (in order of first acceptance): the Vnukovo Aviation Entreprise, 21; the TsUMVS Administration of International Air Communications centred on Sheremetyevo Airport, 22; the Tashkent Air Enterprise, 9; the Sheremetyevo Air Enterprise, 10; the Pulkovo Air Enterprise, 8; the Alma-Ata Air Enterprise, 8; the Chkalovsky Soviet Air Force Base 8 ADON (or 8th Special Purposes Aviation Division), 4; the Kol'tsovo Air Enterprise, 6; the Tolmachevo Air Enterprise, 6; the Erevan Air Enterprise, 2; the Yemelyanovo Air Enterprise, 3.[79]


Ministry of Aircraft Manufacture ("MAP," "Minaviaprom") Factory 64 at Voronezh (today VASO) was tasked with building more than half the Il-86 and assembling the airliner.[80] Capacity there was insufficient and the Polish aircraft industry was involved in the Il-86 project from the outset. The arrangement involved significant technology transfer to Poland: PZL Amalgamation Mielec factory Director Jerzy Belczak said it involved “… a radical retooling of our enterprise” involving “over 50 new processes.”[81] Observers noted that "work on the Il-86 will bring Poland's ... WSK-Mielec to a new level of capability ... in the manufacturing processes involved with an aircraft of this size, including titanium structures, chemical milling and the machining of integral panels."[82] By the 1980s, Mielec was planned to produce half of the Il-86,[83] including the entire wing, and also to work on Il-86 developments (“Now we are preparing to manufacture units for the next model of the Il wide-body plane,” according to Belczak).[84] From May 1977, the Polish factory manufactured entire empennages including tailplanes and the fin, all control surfaces, high-lift devices and engine pylons for the Il-86, representing "about 16 per cent of these aircraft."[85] Amid labour and political unrest in Poland from 1980, the Voronezh factory retained wing manufacture.

Five aircraft were assembled at Voronezh in the later 1970s in anticipation of successful certification. The first (flown on October 25, 1977) was built largely by hand, subsequent machines making increasing use of production equipment. These aircraft were used in certification and development flying before handover to Aeroflot.[86] Voronezh factory production engineers conducted a "redesign cycle"[87] of over 50 areas, cutting some 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of airframe weight.

Production of the Il-86 began in 1976 and continued until 1991. The Five-Year Plan in force when the USSR ceased to exist called for 40 more aircraft to be manufactured by 1994, but the manufacturing facility closed in early 1992.[88] The first two machines were hand-manufactured, in 1976 and 1977 respectively, by Ilyushin at the bureau's own Moscow prototype construction shop; one was used for flight testing and one for static ground testing. Three aircraft were assembled at Voronezh in 1979: one by hand and two using series manufacturing techniques. Subsequent years' manufacturing totals were: 1980, one; 1981, nil; 1982, 11; 1983, 12; 1984, 8; 1985, 9 (including the four for 8 ADON); 1986, 11; 1987, 10; 1988, 10; 1989, 9; 1990, 11 (including the three for export to China), 1991, 3.[89] Of the 106 examples built, one never flew (being used for static tests) and three were exported.[90]


An inaugural service from Moscow to Tashkent was flown on December 26, 1980 but services-proper commenced after February 1, 1981. Aeroflot first operated the Il-86 on peak domestic routes. Foreign services began in June 1981 to Eastern Europe and larger West European cities. Charter flights to European points followed, with services on high density medium/long range routes within the Soviet Union coming last.

From 1982 Aeroflot put the Il-86 into scheduled service from Moscow to Havana via Shannon and Gander, "perhaps with limited payload or with additional tankerage."[91] Other scheduled long range services flown by the type were to Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, all via Sal Island.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, national airlines emerged in the 15 successor republics. Il-86s serving with Aeroflot administrations ("Directorates") in these nations accrued to their airlines and many were traded.

From April 2002, the European Union, the USA and much of the rest of the world banned noisier aircraft, including the Il-86. On October 23, 2006, Aeroflot Deputy Director General Igor Desyatnichenko said that the Il-86 was to be withdrawn from service starting November 15 that year as it operated for just two or three months in the summer."[92]

Unused facilities

The Il-86's carry-on luggage facility was rarely used.[93] Vul'fov (ibid.) notes: "Thank God no civil servant got it into his head to refuse the parallel opportunity offered to passengers of electing to drop their luggage when checking-in at airports. Otherwise, the loading of luggage into the aircraft by passengers would have turned into a proper nightmare lasting hours."

In 1987 Radio Moscow reported that Aeroflot "resisted the change" to a three-person crew.[94][95] Vul'fov, A, ibid., reports that the type continued to be operated by four-member crews. Navigators, occupying the observer seat (devoid of instrumentation), stood unsecured on final approach to oversee the pilots’ instruments and read-out indications (despite voice synthesizers being fitted). Soviet operations of the Tu-154 airliner similarly employed four or five flightdeck crew, despite foreign operators using three-person flightdeck crews.

Military operations

With its built-in stairs and below deck holds, the Il-86 was widely expected to serve in the personnel transport role with the Soviet air forces: "The wide-bodied Il-86 can perform not only as a troop transport ... but may also in the future form the basis for a command and control aircraft for airborne coordination of Warsaw Pact forces."[96]

In the event, four airframes (c/n 042, 043, 046 and 048, carrying quasi-civil registrations SSSR-86046, '7, '8 and '9) were delivered to the 8th Special Purposes Aviation Division at the Chkalovsky air base near Moscow. These are variously claimed to be designated Il-80, Il-82, Il-87 or Il-86VKP (Russian: “ВКП” for “воздушный коммандный пост”; transliterated: "vozdushniy kommandnyi post" “veh-kah-peh” and meaning "aerial command post"). This version has the NATO reporting name Camber: the same as the passenger Il-86.

An Il-86 of Aeroflot



As of 14 December 2009, 12 civilian Il-86s remained in service[1]:

 Russia Atlant-Soyuz Airlines 6, Donavia 4, Transaero 1 (leased-out), The Ulyanovsk Higher Civil Aviation Institute 1 (leased-out)

Former civil operators:[97][98]

 Armenia Armavia, Armenian Airlines
 China China Xinjiang Airlines
 Georgia AJT Air International
 Kazakhstan Air Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Airlines
 Pakistan Hajvairy Airlines
 Russia Aerolicht, Continental Airways, East Line Airlines, Krasnoyarsk Air, Moscow Airways, Orient Avia, Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise, Russian Sky Airlines, Tatarstan Airlines,

Transaero Airlines, Transeuropean Airlines, Vnukovo Airlines

 USSR Aeroflot Soviet Airlines units: the Vnukovo AP, the TsUMVS, the Tashkent AP, the Sheremetyevo AP, the Pulkovo AP, the Kol'tsovo AP, the Tolmachevo AP, the Erevan AP,

the Yemelyanovo AP

 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan Airways, IRS Aero, Jana Arka Airlines


As of 14 December 2009, four Il-86VKPs (Il-80s; Il-87s) remained in service with:[1]

 Russia Russian Air Force, 4

Former military operators:[97]

 Soviet Union Soviet Air Force


The Il-86 is seen as one of the world's safest airliners; one accident involving fatalities had taken place by 2008. A 2006 ICAO paper stated: "There were no fatal accidents in passenger-carrying operations involving a wide-body IL-86, for all periods of operation."[99] The first deputy minister of transport of Russia and head of the State Civil Aviation Service Aleksandr Nyeradko said in 2003: "the Il-86 was and remains one of the world's most dependable airliners."[100]

The following are all significant recorded safety events involving the Il-86 to date:-

  • On an unknown date during the 1980s, an unknown Il-86 on approach to Mineralnye Vody, Russia, suffered a hydraulic failure resulting in asymmetrical deployment of the high-lift devices. The flight crew brought the machine to a safe landing without further incident. No casualties.
  • On an unknown date in 1980, the aircraft registered SSSR-86004 (constructor's number 51483200002 ["002"]) experienced a fire in engine No 4 on departure from Vnukovo; the crew initially shut down No 1 in error, then No 4, but landed safely on the reciprocal runway to the one from which they had departed, after performing a 180° turn. No casualties.
  • In 1984, SSSR-86011 (c/n 009) was found to have suffered a tail strike on landing at Simferopol.[101] No casualties.
  • On March 8, 1994, RA-86119 (c/n 087) parked at Delhi airport was struck by a landing Sahara India Boeing 737 (VT-SIA) flown by a trainee; both aircraft were destroyed. All 4 crew on the 737 were killed.[102] Two Aeroflot employees, a Russian ground engineer and an airport worker were killed on the ground.[103]
  • In June 1998, RA-86080 (c/n 051) was found to have been overstressed, most likely by a recent heavy landing, and repairs were considered inexpedient in view of coming retirement. No casualties; aircraft stored pending retirement.
  • On May 1, 2000, RA-86113 (c/n 081) suffered an apparent engine failure and fire on departure from Sochi. The flight crew brought the machine to a safe overweight landing. The failure and fire indications were found to have been spurious. No casualties.
  • On August 26, 2000, RA-86066 (c/n 033) experienced a failure and fire in No 2 engine shortly after take-off from Moscow Sheremetyevo for Barcelona. The crew landed on the reciprocal runway with no further incident. No casualties.
  • On September 21, 2001, RA-86074 (c/n 041) belly-landed at Dubai after a flight from Moscow, the flight crew having switched-off the ground proximity warning due to heavy workload on the approach and then neglected to extend the landing gear; no casualties; aircraft written-off.[104]
  • On July 28, 2002, RA-86060 (c/n 027) crashed shortly after departure from Moscow on a repositioning flight to Sankt Peterburg. The trim toggle button on the control column caused a spontaneous retrimming of the tailplane, rapid transition to nose-heavy trim and a dive. The four flightdeck crew, two ground support staff and ten cabin crew aboard the aircraft died. The two survivors, both of them cabin crew members, were injured.[105][106][107][108]

Following the Moscow crash in July 2002, the MAK Interstate Aviation Committee withdrew the Il-86's certificate of airworthiness, temporarily grounding the type. The certificate was rapidly restored in stages by early 2003.[109] The accident prompted the Egyptian civil aviation authorities to attempt to ban Il-86 operations to Egypt. Amid continuing negotiations, by 2007 the intention had lapsed, with intensive Il-86 operations to and from Egypt continuing.[110]

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^
  3. ^ Андреев И., "Земные связи авиации", "Техника - молодёжи", № 12, 1977, стр. 40-41 [Andreyev, I., "Aviation's Ground Connections," Tyekhnika - Molodyozhi, No 12 1977, pp 40-41]
  4. ^
  5. ^ See for instance Stroud J, Soviet Transport Aircraft since 1945, Putnam, London, 1968
  6. ^ Bakshmi, K., "Генералният конструктор" [The Constructor General; in Bulgarian], Kosmos No 9 1968, pp 1-3
  7. ^ Krasnoshchekov A., V. Zayarin, "Античный герой XX века" ["An Ancient Hero Amid the 20th Century"], Aviatsiya i Vremya No 3 1999
  8. ^ Zasypkin Yu. V., K. Yu. Kosminkov, eds, История конструкций самолетов в СССР 1951-1965 гг. ["A History of Aircraft Design in the USSR between 1951 and 1965"], Mashinostroyenie, Moscow, 2002
  9. ^ This was later renamed the "система «багаж с собой» плюс контейнеры" or "the 'luggage at hand' plus containers system", also rendered into English as "the 'luggage with oneself' plus containers system".
  10. ^ Baksmi, op. cit, p. 3
  11. ^
  12. ^ Flight International 18 June 25, 1977, p 1802
  13. ^ See particularly "Transatlantic TriStar-2," Flight International April 9, 1977, - 994
  14. ^ Vul'fov A, "Широкофюзеляжные "ИЛы" ["The Broad-Fuselage ILs"], Aviatsiya i Kosmonavtika No 1 2001
  15. ^ Talikov N, "В небе "Ильюшин" ["Ilyushin in the Sky"], ADK Studiya, 1997
  16. ^ See particularly Yakovlev A. S., "Цель жизни" ["My Life's Aim"], Politizdat, Moscow, 1973 and also Talikov, ibid;
  17. ^ Gordon Y., D. Komissarov, S. Komissarov, OKB Ilyushin: a History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft, Midland/Ian Allan, Hinckley, 2004
  18. ^
  19. ^ Новожилов, Г. В., "Широкофюзеляжный многоместный", "Крылья Родины" №8 1981, стр. 24-25 [Novozhilov G. V., "The multi-seat widebody", Krylya Rodiny No 8, 1981 pp 24-25; in Russian]
  20. ^ Novozhilov G. V., Lyeshchiner D. V., Sheynin V. M. et al., Самолеты ОКБ имени С. В. Ильюшина ["Aircraft of the S V Ilyushin Experimental and Design Bureau"], Mashinostroyenie, Moscow, 1985
  21. ^ See Yakovlev A., ibid.
  22. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1973-74
  23. ^ Pravda, May 18, 1971
  24. ^ Gunston B., Aircraft of the Soviet Union, Osprey, London, 1984
  25. ^ Васильев Н., "Широкофюзеляжный "Ил", "Крылья Родины", №3 1998, стр. 3-4 [Vasilyev, N., "The Widebody Il", Krilya Rodiny No 3 1998, pp 3-4; in Russian]
  26. ^ "BAC's Big Twinjet," Flight International November 14, 1968, pp 777-780
  27. ^ "Europlane details revealed," Flight International May 24, 1973 pp 765-766
  28. ^ , Селяков, Л. Л., Тернистый путь в никуда: записки авиаконструктора [Selyakov, L. L., "A Thorny Road to Nowhere: an Aircraft Designer's Notes"], private edition, Moscow, 1995
  29. ^ See the chapter on the Sud Aviation SE.210 Caravelle in Stroud J., Jetliners in Service since 1952, Putnam, London, 1994
  30. ^ See in particular "In Search of 'Correct Solutions'. When Ideology and Controversy Collide: The Case of Soviet Science", Graham L. R., The Hastings Centre Report, April 1982, and also Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars, Pollock E., Princeton University Press, 2006
  31. ^ Gordon Y., Early Soviet Jet Bombers: the 1940s and early 1950s, Midland/Ian Allan, Hinckley, 2005
  32. ^ Flieger Revue 12-72, 1972
  33. ^ "Aeroflot Airbus Developments," Flight International, February 1, 1973, p 156.
  34. ^ Gunston, B., "Soviet turbofan revealed," Flight International January 14, 1984, pp 70-71
  35. ^ Gordon Y. et al, op. cit.
  36. ^ a b "Russia's New Long-Hauler," Flight International August 20, 1977, p 524.
  37. ^ Irving C., Wide-Body: the Making of the 747, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1994, pp 250 et seq., pp 265-266
  38. ^ "Sale of Lockheeds to Soviets may raise Sensitive Questions", The Gadsden Times, Sunday, December 1, 1974,,190444
  39. ^ Colours in the Sky, Simons G., GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1997
  40. ^ "TriStar Flies to Moscow," Flight International March 21, 1974, p 358.
  41. ^ Lockheed TriStar, Birtles P, Modern Civil Aircraft No 8, Ian Allan, London, 1989
  42. ^ "No CF6s for Soviet Union," Flight International February 25, 1978, p 482
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1979-80
  46. ^ Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World survey, 1977 et seq
  47. ^ "Commercial Aircraft of the World," Flight International October 17, 1981, pp 1180-1181
  48. ^ Шульгин В., "Рейсы к совершенству", "Крылья Родины", № 5, 1984, стр. 20-21 [Shul'gin, V, "Routes to Perfection," Krylya Rodiny No 5, 1984, pp 20-21; in Russian]
  49. ^
  50. ^ Р. И. Виноградов, А. Н. Пономарев [Vinogradov, R I; A N Ponomaryov], Развитие самолетов мира [The Development of the World's Aircraft; in Russian], Mashinostroyeniye, Moscow, 1991
  51. ^ Cooksley P, B Gunston (Consultant Ed.), Advanced Jetliners: the Illustrated International Aircraft Guide, Phoebus/BPC, London, 1980
  52. ^ "IL-86 Medium-haul Passenger Airliner". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  53. ^ Колесник, Д., "Баклажан" не овощ, а средство передвижения", "М-Хобби", №4 2002, стр. 10-15.[Kolyesnik, D, "The aubergine as a means of transport rather than a vegetable," (a play on words: Russians often dub the Il-86 "the aubergine") M-Hobbi, No 4 2002, pp 10-15; in Russian]
  54. ^ Cooksley, ibid.
  55. ^ Flight International October 17, 1981, op. cit.
  56. ^ "Russia intensifies export drive," Flight International April 12, 1973, p 579
  57. ^
  58. ^ Gordon Y et al., ibid.
  59. ^ Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World surveys 1986 et seq
  60. ^ "CFM-Engined Il-86 at Costs Stage," Flight International September 12-18 1990, p 17
  61. ^ "CFMI Seeks to Pin Down Airlines on Il-86," Flight International February 22-28 1995, p 11
  62. ^ "IAE offers V2500 as alternative on Il-86," Flight International March 22-28 1995, p 12
  63. ^ Практическая аэродинамика самолета Ил-86 (учебное пособие) ["Practical Aerodynamics of the Il-86 Aircraft: a Study Manual"] 2nd revised ed., Bekhtir V P, the MGA Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Tsentr GA SEV Comecon Civil Aviation Centre IPK Qualification Improvement Institute, Ulyanovsk, 1991
  64. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Jane's, Coulsdon, various years.
  65. ^ OKB Ilyushin ibid.
  66. ^ Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World surveys, 1995 et passim
  67. ^ "On Russia's Aircraft,Flight International, June 23, 1979, p 2239"
  68. ^
  69. ^ all figures in the Specifications table are cited from the exhaustive set adduced by Bekhtir V. P., ibid.
  70. ^ "Pressure mounts for LOT to buy American," Flight International November 21, 1987, p 6.
  71. ^ Chernikov, O, "Ил-86. История серии. Часть 1" [Il-86: History of the Series. Part 1; in Russian] on
  72. ^ see Gunston B, op. cit., and especially Skipp P, and
  73. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1981-82
  74. ^ Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World survey 1981
  75. ^ FAI Sub-slass C-1 Group 3 Database IDs 4140 to 4150;
  76. ^ FAI Sub-slass C-1 Group 3 Database IDs 4134 to 4139;
  77. ^ "Hard-sell tour for Il-86," Flight International July 23, 1983 p 178
  78. ^ Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya 11/82
  79. ^ [1]
  80. ^ Flight International October 8, 1977
  81. ^ ”Co-Production Going Well,” ‘’Aviaexport’’ 15, 1985, p 9
  82. ^ Flight International, August 20, 1977, ibid. Also see "Poland opens for Business," Flight International April 15, 1989 and "Senecas and Spoons," Flight International April 29, 1989 for details.
  83. ^ Flight International, op. cit
  84. ^ Aviaexport 15, ‘’ibid’’.
  85. ^ Flight International April 29, 1989, ibid.
  86. ^ Gordon Y et al., op. cit
  87. ^ Statement by Genrikh Novozhilov, Flight International July 23, 1983
  88. ^ Chernikov, ibid.
  89. ^, ibid.
  90. ^ (in Russian)
  91. ^ Flight International October 15, 1983
  92. ^ "«Аэрофлот» списал Ил-86. «Аэрофлот» отказался от эксплуатации первого отечественного широкофюзеляжного самолета Ил-86". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  93. ^ As noted in Selyakov, ibid., and numerous Russian and other magazine publications, e.g. the Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya newspaper June 30, 1988
  94. ^ Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya newspaper October 29, 1987
  95. ^ Flight International November 21, 1987
  96. ^ Robinson A, Soviet Air Power, Bison, London, 1985
  97. ^ a b Hillman, Peter (2004). Soviet Transports. The Aviation Hobby Shop. pp. 323–326. 
  98. ^ Bratukhin AG, ed., Авиастроение России/Russian Aircraft, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1995
  99. ^
  100. ^ (
  101. ^, ibid.
  102. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737 VT-SIA Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)". Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  103. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 86 RA-86119 Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  104. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 86 RA-86074 Dubai Airport (DXB)". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  105. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Ilyushin 86 RA-86060 Moscow". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  106. ^ "А есть ли у нас в ГА бардак?" ["Is our civil aviation in a proper mess?"]
  107. ^ "О результатах расследования авиационного происшествия с самолетом Ил-86 RA-86060 28 июля 2002 года" ["On the Results of the Investigation into the Accident with the IL-86 aircraft RA-86060 on June 28, 2002"]
  108. ^ "Анализ обстоятельств авиационного происшествия с самолетом Ил-86 RA-86060" ["An Analysis of the Circumstances of the Air Crash of the Il-86 Aircraft RA-86060"]
  109. ^ "Russia decides not to ground Il-86 aircraft | Airline Industry Information | Find Articles at BNET". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  110. ^ "Ban on IL 86 flights to Egypt discussed for five years but never imposed since Egypt itself wants Russian tourists, says Ural Airlines. Daily news за 26.03.2007. UralBusinessConsulting". Retrieved 2008-09-19. 

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