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The Ilyushin Il-86 is a medium-range wide-body jet airliner. Designed and tested by the Ilyushin design bureau in the 1970s, it was certificated by the Sovietmarker aircraft industry during the 1970s and 1980s, manufactured jointly in the USSRmarker and Polandmarker, and marketed by the USSR. It was the first Soviet wide-body airliner and the world's second four-engined wide-body.

Only 106 Il-86s were built and only three of those were exported. The type was used overwhelmingly by Aeroflot and, after the collapse of the USSR, by successor post-Soviet airlines. Unusually for a Soviet airliner, the Il-86 saw only limited military service, though an airborne command post version did enter service.

The Il-86 typified the priorities and approaches applied to Soviet airliners as distinct from those applied to Western airliners. Emerging during the Brezhnev stagnation, it suffered from engines which were typical of the 1960s and spent a decade in development, failing to enter service for the Moscow Olympics, as had been intended.

In service, the Il-86 gained recognition as a very safe and reliable machine which did what had been asked of it. By June 2009, only 23 Il-86s remain in service, 19 with civilian operators and 4 with the Russian Air Force.



In the mid-1960s the USAmarker and Western Europe planned airliners seating many more than the then-maximum of some 200 passengers: airbuses in contemporaneous parlance. The Soviet leadership wanted to match them with its own aerobus ( ). Though the propaganda motive was important in Soviet policymaking, the USSR also had a practical need for an airbus. Aeroflot was expecting to carry over 100 million passengers a year within a decade (the 100th million annual passenger was indeed carried on 29 December 1976).First to respond was OKB-153, the bureau led by Oleg Antonov, which proposed a 724-seat version of the An-22 airlifter. The project was energetically promoted until at least 1969, ultimately with a 605-passenger interior (383 on the upper deck and 223 on the lower), improved comfort and amenities. It did not go ahead due to fears that it would be old-fashioned and because the Kievmarker-based bureau was close to the deposed Nikita Khrushchev.


Accommodating the hundreds of passengers envisaged for aerobuses was challenging: many Soviet airports had small terminals. By the late 1960s, Soviet aviation research institutes had elaborated a concept of passengers loading and unloading their luggage into and from the aerobus as they boarded and disembarked: "the luggage at hand" system ( ; transliterated: sistyema "bagazh s soboy"). Soviet aviation journalist Kim Bakshmi described the idea at its ultimate as one which would make train, bus/coach and air travel essentially similar: "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.". Taking passengers' luggage into the cabin was studied, but necessitated a 3m/10ft fuselage extension with a 350-seat capacity; thus, passengers were to deposit their luggage in underfloor compartments as they entered the airliner. Airbus Industrie studied such arrangements in the mid-1970s, while Lockheed implemented it into the L-1011 TriStar in 1973 at the request of Pacific Southwest Airlines . Many Soviet airports also had weak surfaces and the aerobus had to match the ground loadings of existing airliners. This called for a complex and heavy multi-wheel landing gear. In October 1967, the Soviet government approved a general specification for an aerobus by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Aeroflot). This called for it to seat 350, have a range of 3,600 km (1,900 nmi) with a 40-tonne payload or 5,800 km/3,100 nmi with most seats taken but no freight. The airliner had to be able to operate from smaller regional and local airports (classified as Klass "B" and "V" [Russian: класс "Б", "В"] or "Class B/C" by the Soviets), with runway lengths of up to 2,600 m (8,500 ft).

In the second half of the 1960s, OKB-240 (as the Ilyushin bureau was formally known) was restoring positions lost (along with Yakovlev, in favour of Tupolev and Antonov) during the Khrushchev era and was well placed to secure design of the Soviet aerobus. Indeed, when the Soviet cabinet's defence industry committee progressed the Aeroflot specification on September 8, 1969 onto the preliminary project (Russian: аванпроект; transliterated: avanproyekt) stage, it entrusted it to Ilyushin. The bureau received specific operational requirements for the aerobus on February 22, 1970. Having won the political battle for the prestige project, Ilyushin faced four challenges: configuration (layout or "shape"), powerplant, automation (avionics) and manufacturing capacity.

Conceptual development

Ilyushin began its preliminary aerobus project in late 1969. Initially, this involved assessing the development potential of existing hardware. Considerable attention was expended on a project to enlarge the Il-62. Designated Il-62-250, this would have had a 30-tonne payload, 259 seats and a 6.8 metre/22 ft longer fuselage, making it a virtual analogue of the Douglas DC-8 "Super Sixty" series. Other proposed Il-62 modifications involved double-deck or "two fuselages side-by-side" developments. A project to "civilianise" the Il-76 was also considered. In parallel, from March 1970 the bureau worked on all-new designs under the Il-86 designation. In a paradigm shift, it also embraced high-technology in contrast to the "appropriate technology approach" it had taken for the Il-62: the aerobus would have powered controls, complex high-lift devices and advanced automation enabling fewer flightdeck crew.

An early version of the avanproyekt was shown to the Soviet leadership at an exhibition of civil aviation novelties held at the Vnukovo-2 Airportmarker near Moscow on May 17, 1971. A scale model bore the true designation of "Il-86" ( , transliterated "Il vosem’desyat' shest'"). The model showed the "self-loading" concept with integral boarding stairs and below-deck luggage stores in addition to a below-deck midships galley. It had a twin-aisle interior with nine-abreast seating in a "3-3-3" layout. Ilyushin considered it politically smart to make the interior wider at 6.08 m (19.9 ft) than that of any widebody airliner at the time, except the Boeing 747. On this basis, on 9 March 1972, the bureau was awarded the task to develop the design.

The difference between the 1971 model and the eventual Il-86 was that the model was in configuration or shape: the model looked like an Il-62. At that time, the important Central Hydro and Aerodynamics Institute (TsAGImarker) favoured the clean-winged, rear-engined, T-tailed configuration for airliners. The BAC Three-Eleven and BAC/CASA/MBB Europlane projects had similar configurations.

The configuration of heavy jet aircraft was a sensitive issue in the USSR. Aircraft designer Leonid Selyakov states: "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)." While similar controversies were known in Western aeronautical circles, they were typical of the Soviet belief system which entailed reliance on immutable, "scientifically-correct" solutions. Ilyushin therefore had to stress that it had first in the world adopted 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). Having thus been presented as indigenously Soviet, the Il-86's ultimate configuration could at last appear in public in 1973, six years after publication of the aerobus specification and four years after the bureau had received the design assignment. Simpler six-window flightdeck glazing came soon afterwards in place of the 18 to 20 window arrangements inherited from the Il-18, Il-62 and Il-76.

The main problem facing the Il-86 project was the lack of a suitable engine. This problem was never resolved. By the close of the 1960s, the USA and the UKmarker 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.

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." 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 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 was lagging in the avionics which removed the need for a navigator and radio operator. A programme of avionics development was thus mounted to enable the Il-86 to operate in most weathers with a three-member flight crew. While it was successful, its outcome only matched the level of Western technology of the late 1960s.

The shortage of manufacturing facilities for the Il-86 constituted 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."

Interest in foreign technology

Because of the intractability of the powerplant (and to an extent the avionics and manufacturing capacity) issues, the Soviets tried to acquire foreign technology. These attempts took two directions: first, wholesale technology transfer similar to the Li-2 deal of the 1930s whereby the USSR acquired the right to build the US DC-3 airliner; second, purchases of individual systems or items for fitment to otherwise indigenous technology. By analogy with other airliner programmes of the same period, it is possible that a third direction to the same end may have involved industrial espionage along the lines of the reverse engineering of the Tu-4 from the B-29 of the 1940s, though no evidence of it has come to light. Attempts at wholesale purchase and technology transfer would have delayed Il-86 development, since it would have assumed the role of a mere backup programme; conversely, attempts to purchase or illicitly acquire individual systems or items would have speeded Il-86 development. It is germaine to note that Il-86 development was unduly protracted; this indicates that for long periods the programme was pursued as backup insurance in case wholesale technology transfer failed.

Before the Boeing 747 had flown, a Ministry of Civil Aviation delegation visited Boeing and received 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 arranged an informal technology trade-off. Over supper in a Parismarker restaurant, the Soviet side ceded information on its titanium technology to the Americans, while the latter, "sketching on the tablecloth," ceded information on "the structural and aerodynamic amity of the aeroelastic wing."

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. The TriStar matched the Il-86 in size and performance, was widely regarded as the technological leader of the time, and had development potential. Intensive negotiations to buy 30 TriStars and licence-produce up to 100 a year in a new factory employing 80,000 people continued until mid-1976, though Western journalists and the Soviet media were kept away. Any residual will to export TriStars was scotched when US President Jimmy Carter made human rights a US foreign policy factor. The aircraft was also listed by the Coordinating Committee as embodying 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. In the 1980s, there were moves to fit the Il-86 with RB211-22 engines. Designated Il-86V, this would have had a range of over 9,000 km (4,860 nmi) and/or increased payload. A 450-seater Il-86V was also projected, to be powered by RB211-524G engines. 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. Finances precluded progress. In 1995, International Aero Engines offered the V2500 engine for retrospective fitting on the Il-86. No development emerged, though five operators had wanted to re-engine 25 aircraft.

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 the calendar year due to the requirements of Five-Year Plans). It was announced that the type had a patented electromagnetic pulse deicing system. which used 500 times less energy than conventional deicers. It is claimed that over 50 new technological processes were introduced into Soviet practice as a result of the Il-86 programme.

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.(According to a faster schedule, announced at the time of the first flight, Ilyushin tests were to end in time for the 60th anniversary of the October Revolution, on November 7, 1977.) 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. The Il-86 entered Aeroflot service on 26 December the same year. The service-entry deadline of summer 1980, announced by Minister of Civil Aviation Boris Bugayev in 1977 had passed, however, and the Il-86 missed the prestige Moscow Olympics.

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 assigned to civil as opposed to military aircraft. Moreover, in its early stages, the Il-86 programme was "fall-back insurance" in case US airliner imports failed. 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 was made mandatory five years later.

Undeveloped versions

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. 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, sometimes 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 entrances fitted with seats, a 3-4-3 layout seating, and reduced seat pitch. No freight or combined passenger-freight versions were proposed.


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 (with the exception of the black market). As part of a similar supply provision within the Comecon, Lot was allocated four Il-86s as barter for component manufacture; that airline deferred deliveries which were cancelled by 1987. In 1988 the East German airline Interflug is said to have prepared to take delivery of two Il-86s, going as far as to allocate them the registratioins DDR-AAA and DDR-AAB. Instead, that same year the airline took delivery of two Airbus A310s.

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 compartmentalisation of a design bureau, acting like naval architects designing an aeroplane, a separate factory constructing it and a separate organisation selling it, has been seen as diluting responsibility.

The Il-86 prototype was displayed at the Paris Salon International de l'Aéronautiquemarker in 1977. It was noted that its interior used patented fire-resistant materials and hydraulics employed a fire-resistant fluid. 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. 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. 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. Of the 18 records, one was broken by a Tu-144 in 1983, five were superseded or discontinued and 12 still stood in mid-2008.

In September 1982 the type made a sales call in Bulgariamarker, followed by calls in July 1983 in Hungarymarker and Czechoslovakiamarker. The calls appeared to have been hastily arranged, with the potential buyers being supplied no hard information on the type in advance. Very little solid information was given to them 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,” 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 Vnukovomarker Aviation Entreprise, 21; the TsUMVS Administration of International Air Communications centred on Sheremetyevomarker Airport, 22; the Tashkentmarker Air Enterprise, 9; the Sheremetyevo Air Enterprise, 10; the Pulkovomarker Air Enterprise, 8; the Alma-Atamarker Air Enterprise, 8; the Chkalovskymarker Soviet Air Force Base 8 ADON (or 8th Special Purposes Aviation Division), 4; the Kol'tsovomarker Air Enterprise, 6; the Tolmachevomarker Air Enterprise, 6; the Erevanmarker Air Enterprise, 2; the Yemelyanovomarker Air Enterprise, 3.


On the Soviet side, the Ministry of Aircraft Manufacture ("MAP," "Minaviaprom") Factory 64 at Voronezhmarker (today VASO) was tasked with building more than half of the Il-86 and of assembling the airliner. Capacity there was insufficient and the Polish aircraft industry was involved in the Il-86 project from the outset. The arrangement was not a subcontract; it involved significant technology transfer to enable Poland to meet its assigned role: PZL Amalgamation Mielec factory Director Jerzy Belczak said it involved “… a radical retooling of our enterprise” involving “over 50 new processes.” 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." By the 1980s, Mielec was planned to produce half of the Il-86, including its 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). 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." As labour and political unrest spread 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 series production equipment. These early aircraft were used in certification and development flying before handover to Aeroflot. Voronezh factory production engineers conducted a "redesign cycle" 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 another 40 aircraft to be manufactured by 1994, but the manufacturing facility closed in early 1992. 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. Of the 106 examples built, one never flew (being used for static tests) and three were exported.


The Il-86 is an all-metal low-wing land monoplane with four jet engines. Its wing is a cantilever three-spar structure of modified trapezoid planform. Centre section integral with the fuselage, inboard sections, outboard sections and detachable leading and trailing edges. High-lift devices include full-span six-segment leading edge slats (contiguous past the 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). Boundary layer fences over pylons. Two-segment outboard ailerons for low and intermediate speed roll control. Engines suspended from the wing on pylons act as anti-flutter weights. Trim range is 16-33% of mean aerodynamic chord.

The fuselage is of conventional circular section structure of frames and stringers with a continuous main deck and lower decks fore and aft of the wing 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 pantry units 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."

The empennage is conventional 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). Its landing gear use a near-conventional layout, with a twin-wheeled nose gear leg and three four-wheel bogie main gear units (centre and two outer legs). Track is 9.9 m (/32 ft 5.5 in).

The Il-86 is powered by 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 air ejectors blow away detritus during taxi. A VSU-10 APU generates power and heats/cools the interior on the ground, provides engine start air. 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).

The inputs to all control surface are through hydraulic channels. An SAU-1T-2 automatic flight control system offers assisted manual and automatic flight modes, with no pure manual control option. Automatic coupled runway approaches to ICAO Category II conditions. It has four independent hydraulic systems power all flight controls and the built-in airstairs. Fluid is to the NGZh, rather than AMG, formula.

The aircraft's avionics include a 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. Airfield approach aids enable instrument landing system approaches to ICAO Category II weather minima. Other radio aids include VOR and DME receivers, a weather radar and Warsaw Pact identification aids. Pizhma-1 has full-time roll and yaw dampers. Cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders fitted as 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 the high-lift devices, tailplane trim, deicing, galley lift and interior services.

Operational history

An inaugural flight from Moscow to Tashkent was made 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 Western European cities.

In 1987 Radio Moscow reported that Aeroflot "resisted the change" to a three-person crew. 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 in order to observe 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 of that type using three-person flightdeck crews.

From 1982 Aeroflot put the Il-86 into scheduled service from Moscow to Havanamarker via Shannonmarker and Gandermarker, "perhaps with limited payload or with additional tankerage." Other scheduled long range services flown by the type were to Buenos Airesmarker, Montevideomarker and Limamarker and to Rio de Janeiromarker and Sao Paulomarker via Sal Islandmarker.

Other deployments were to major Western European points (the Il-86 was for example used daily on the Moscow to London Heathrow and Paris routes in the 1980s-90s), charter flights with high-density seating to European points with tourists to the Soviet Union (again in the 1980s-90s they were regular visitors at London Gatwick airport in the summer season), and the highest density medium/longer range routes within the Soviet Union.

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

From April 2002, the European Union, the USA and much of the rest of the world banned noisier aircraft, including the Il-86. By 2008, the type operated mostly within the former USSR. In May 2007, 42 Ilyushin Il-86s remained in service. On October 23, 2006, Aeroflot Deputy Director General Igor Desyatnichenko said: "the Il-86 will be withdrawn from service starting November 15 as it is too costly to maintain through the winter and to operate for just two or three months in the summer."

The Il-86's carry-on luggage arrangements were rarely used. 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." The three integral airstairs are used regularly for disembarkation and boarding when the aircraft is docked at remote stands.

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." In the event, only 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").

The Il-86 has a service life of 20 years or 20,000 landings or 30,000 flight hours prior to major servicing. The Il-80/Il-86VKP version has the NATO reporting name Camber: the same as the passenger Il-86.


Civil operators

As of 5 June 2009, 19 civilian Il-86s remained in service. Major operators include:

Former civil operators are

Military operators

As of 5 June 2009, 4 Il-86VKPs (Il-80s; Il-87s) remained in service with:

Former military operator is:


Name and designation Il-86 or IL-86 or Ilyushin 86 or Ilyushin-86

pronounced "I L eighty-six" or "Ill eighty-six"

Russian: "Ил восемдесять шесть"; transliterated “Il vosemdesyat shest'”
Powerplant 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
Wing span 48.06 m (157 ft 8 in)
Overall length 60.21 m (197 ft 7 in)
Nominal height 15.68 m (51 ft 5 in)
Wing area 300 m² (3,229 ft²)
Wing loading at maximum takeoff weight 672 kg/m² (133.15 lb/ft²)
Wing 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
Undercarriage track 9.9 m (32 ft 5.5 in)
Undercarriage 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 complement Three on the flightdeck (but four in USSR and Russian service due to industrial practices)

11 service-typical in the cabin
Accommodation 350 passengers, all-economy class, 9-abreast (3-3-3 typical), 84 cm (34 in) seat pitch typical

320 passengers mixed class: 18 first, 56 business; 246 economy

cargo capacity of 16,000 cubic metres/565,035 cubic feet in three compartments
Maximum ramp weight 216,950 kg (478,290 lb)
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) 215,000 kg (458,560 lb)
Maximum landing weight 175,000 kg (385,800 lb)
Maximum fuel weight 86,000 kg (189,630 lb)
Maximum payload 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) early, 42,000 kg (92,594 lb) developed
Operational empty weight 117,500 kg (259,043 lb) early, 115,000 kg (253,531 lb) late
Typical takeoff balanced field length in ISA conditions 2,800 m (9,190 ft)
Typical landing field length 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)
Typical safe climb-out speed (V2) on takeoff 295 km/h (159 kt)
Initial climb speed 550 km/h (297 kt)
Climb speed 510 km/h (275 kt)
Cruise speeds (VNO) maximum 0.88 Mach at 11,000 m (36,000 ft) to 12,000 m (40,000 ft)

0.82 M to 0.805 M on under-210-minute sectors service-typical

0.782 M long-range
Never-exceed speed (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
Cruise altitude 11,400 m (37,000 ft)
Approach speed 410 km/h (254 kt)
Typical runway threshold speed (VAT) on landing 270 km/h (146 kt at 175,000 kg (385,800 lb)
Stall speeds 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 ICAOmarker fuel reserves; MTOW) 3,400 km (1,835 nmi, 2,113 mi) with maximum payload

4,000 km (2,160 nmi, 2,485 mi) with full passenger load and full tanks

5,000 km (2,700 nmi, 3,106 mi) with 300 passengers and full tanks

8,200 km (4,428 nm, 5,095 mi) maximum still air (ferry) range with full tanks
Typical fuel consumption 14,000 kg (30,865 lb) first hour

12,000 kg (26,455 lb) per hour thereafter


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." 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."

The following are all significant recorded safety events in the history of the Il-86 to date:-

  • On an unknown date during the 1980s, an unknown Il-86 on approach to Mineral'nye Vody 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. No casualties.

  • On March 8, 1994, RA-86119 (c/n 087) parked at Delhimarker airport was struck by a landing Sahara India Boeing 737 (VT-SIA) flown by a trainee pilot; both aircraft were destroyed. All 4 crew on the 737 were killed. Two Aeroflot employees, a Russian ground engineer and an airport worker were killed on the ground.

  • 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 Barcelonamarker. 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 Dubaimarker after a flight from Moscowmarker, 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.

  • On July 28, 2002, RA-86060 (c/n 027) crashed shortly after departure from Moscow while a ferry flight to Saint Petersburg. The trim toggle button on the control column caused a spontaneous retrimming of the tailplane, rapid transition to nose-heavy trim and a dive; 14 of 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.

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, the process being complete by early 2003. The accident prompted the Egyptian civil aviation authorities to state that they intended to ban Il-86 operations to Egypt on safety grounds. Amid continuing negotiations, by 2007 the intention appeared to have lapsed and intensive Il-86 operations to and from that country continued in 2008.

See also


  2. 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. See for instance Stroud J, Soviet Transport Aircraft since 1945, Putnam, London, 1968
  5. Bakshmi, Kim, "Генералният конструктор" [The Constructor General; in Bulgarian], Kosmos No 9 1968, pp 1-3
  6. Krasnoshchekov A, V Zayarin, "Античный герой XX века" ["An Ancient Hero Amid the 20th Century"], Aviatsiya i Vremya No 3 1999
  7. 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"], Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 2002
  8. Baksmi, op. cit, p. 3
  10. Flight International 18/June 25, 1977, p 1802
  11. See particularly "Transatlantic TriStar-2," Flight International April 9, 1977, - 994
  12. Vul'fov A, "Широкофюзеляжные "ИЛы" ["The Broad-Fuselage ILs"], Aviatsiya i Kosmonavtika No 1 2001
  13. Talikov N, "В небе "Ильюшин" ["Ilyushin in the Sky"], ADK Studiya, 1997
  14. See particularly Yakovlev A S, "Цель жизни" ["My Life's Aim"], Politizdat, Moscow, 1973 and also Talikov, ibid;
  15. Gordon Y, D Komissarov, S Komissarov, OKB Ilyushin: a History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft, Midland/Ian Allan, Hinckley, 2004
  17. Новожилов, Г.В., "Широкофюзеляжный многоместный", "Крылья Родины" №8 1981, стр. 24-25 [Novozhilov GV, "The multi-seat widebody", Krylya Rodiny No 8, 1981 pp 24-25; in Russian]
  18. 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
  19. See Yakovlev A, ibid.
  20. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1973-74
  21. Pravda, May 18, 1971
  22. Gunston B, Aircraft of the Soviet Union, Osprey, London, 1984
  23. 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]
  24. "BAC's Big Twinjet," Flight International November 14, 1968, pp 777-780
  25. "Europlane details revealed," Flight International May 24, 1973 pp 765-766
  26. Selyakov L L, Тернистый путь в никуда: записки авиаконструктора ["A Thorny Road to Nowhere: an Aircraft Designer's Notes"], private edition, Moscow, 1995
  27. See the chapter on the Sud Aviation SE.210 Caravelle in Stroud J, Jetliners in Service since 1952, Putnam, London, 1994
  28. See in particular History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, various eds.
  29. Gordon Y, Early Soviet Jet Bombers: the 1940s and early 1950s, Midland/Ian Allan, Hinckley, 2005
  30. Flieger Revue 12-72, 1972
  31. "Aeroflot Airbus Developments," Flight International, February 1, 1973, p 156.
  32. Gunston, Bill. "Soviet turbofan revealed," Flight International January 14, 1984, pp 70-71
  33. Gordon Y, D Komissarov, S Komissarov, OKB Ilyushin: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft, Midland/Ian Allan, Hinckley, 2004
  34. "Russia's New Long-Hauler," Flight International August 20, 1977, p 524.
  36. Irving C, Wide-Body: the Making of the 747, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1994, pp 250 et seq., pp 265-266
  37. Colours in the Sky, Simons G, GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1997
  38. "TriStar Flies to Moscow," Flight International March 21, 1974, p 358.
  39. Lockheed TriStar, Birtles P, Modern Civil Aircraft No 8, Ian Allan, London, 1989
  40. "No CF6s for Soviet Union," Flight International February 25, 1978, p 482
  41. Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World surveys 1986 et seq
  42. "CFM-Engined Il-86 at Costs Stage," Flight International September 12-18 1990, p 17
  43. "CFMI Seeks to Pin Down Airlines on Il-86," Flight International February 22-28 1995, p 11
  44. "IAE offers V2500 as alternative on Il-86," Flight International March 22-28 1995, p 12
  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]
  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. 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," M-Hobbi, No 4 2002, pp 10-15; in Russian]
  53. Cooksley, ibid.
  54. Flight International October 17, 1981, op. cit.
  55. "Russia intensifies export drive," Flight International April 12, 1973, p 579
  57. Gordon Y et al., ibid.
  58. "Pressure mounts for LOT to buy American," Flight International November 21, 1987, p 6.
  59. Chernikov, O, "Ил-86. История серии. Часть 1" [Il-86: History of the Series. Part 1; in Russian] on
  60. see Gunston B, op. cit., and especially Skipp P, and
  61. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1981-82
  62. Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World survey 1981
  63. FAI Sub-slass C-1 Group 3 Database IDs 4140 to 4150;
  64. FAI Sub-slass C-1 Group 3 Database IDs 4134 to 4139;
  65. "Hard-sell tour for Il-86," Flight International July 23, 1983 p 178
  66. Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya 11/82
  67. [1]
  68. Flight International October 8, 1977
  69. ”Co-Production Going Well,” ‘’Aviaexport’’ 15, 1985, p 9
  70. 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.
  71. Flight International, op. cit
  72. Aviaexport 15, ‘’ibid’’.
  73. Flight International April 29, 1989, ibid.
  74. Gordon Y et al., op. cit
  75. Statement by Genrikh Novozhilov, Flight International July 23, 1983
  76. Chernikov, ibid.
  77., ibid.
  78. (in Russian)
  79. 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
  80. Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Jane's, Coulsdon, various years.
  81. OKB Ilyushin ibid.
  82. Flight International Commercial Aircraft of the World surveys, 1995 et passim
  83. "On Russia's Aircraft,Flight International, June 23, 1979, p 2239"
  84. Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya newspaper October 29, 1987
  85. Flight International November 21, 1987
  86. Flight International October 15, 1983
  87. As noted in Selyakov, ibid., and numerous Russian and other magazine publications, e.g. the Grazhdanskaya Aviatsiya newspaper June 30, 1988
  88. Robinson A, Soviet Air Power, Bison, London, 1985
  91. Bratukhin AG, ed., Авиастроение России/Russian Aircraft, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1995
  93. (
  94., ibid.
  95. "А есть ли у нас в ГА бардак?" ["Is our civil aviation in a proper mess?"]
  96. "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"]
  97. "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"]

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