Ilyushin Il-86 and Il-96
The Ilyushin Il-86 and Il-96 are four-engined widebody airliners. The Il-86 was Russia's first widebody airliner intended for short to medium-range flights and seating up to 350 passengers. The Il-96 is a shortened version, but actually an almost completely new design for long-haul flights.
The Il-86 was developed during the 1970s as a Soviet counterpart of Western widebodies like the Lockheed TriStar and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The Ilyushin design bureau started design studies in 1969 for a high-capacity aircraft. At first it considered an enlarged version of the Il-62 (the Il-62-250), with a 6.8 m (22 ft) stretched fuselage. Other ideas were a double-deck version of the Il-62 and an aircraft with two Il-62 fuselages side-by-side. The engineers also considered a passenger version of the Il-76 freighter instead. In the end the Ilyushin engineers chose for an all-new four-engined widebody concept. At first the idea was to place the engines in pairs at the rear of the fuselage, like on the Il-62, but in the final design they were positioned in pods under the wing.
The Il-86 first flew on 22 December 1976 and Aeroflot began operating the aircraft in December 1980. The Il-86 should have entered service before the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but it was not ready in time.
A big problem for the Il-86 was the lack of a big Russian turbofan engine with a high bypass ratio. The big Western turbofans had bypass ratios of 4 or 5 to 1 at that time, but the Kuznetsov NK-8, chosen for the Il-86, had a bypass ratio of only 1.15 to 1. It was noisy and fuel-thirsty and made the Il-86 an uneconomical aircraft. Ideas to equip the Il-86 with CFM International CFM56 turbofans never materialised.
Passengers in economy class sit eight-abreast (2-4-2) or nine-abreast (3-3-3) in a high-density configuration. A unique feature of the Il-86 were its facilities for passengers to carry their luggage into the aircraft themselves. On boarding it they could deposit their suitcases in underfloor compartments before climbing an internal stairs to the cabin. The concept made the Il-86 less dependent of ground equipment at small airports. However, in the end this facility was hardly used.
Production ended in the mid-1990s after the completion of 106 aircraft, including four aircraft delivered as military flying command posts, designated 'Il-86VKP'. From April 2002, noisier aircraft types, including the Il-86, were banned from EU-airports, the USA and other parts of the world. Today, there are no longer Il-86s flying in airline service.
- Il-96 -
The Il-86's unique baggage self service concept was deleted with the later Il-96-300, which at first sight is a shortened version of the Il-86. The Il-96, however, is a much more advanced aircraft. Ilyushin started its development in the mid-1980s and the first flight took place on 28 september 1988. Certification followed in 1992 and Aeroflot introduced the Il-96 in operational service in 1993.
The basic Il-96-300 seats 262 passengers in a two-class layout. It is fitted with Aviadvigatel (Soloviev) PS-90A turbofans, which make it comply with ICAO Stage 3 noise rules. The aircraft features a supercritical wing with winglets at the tips, a six-screen EFIS flightdeck and a fly-by-wire control system. Some parts of the airframe are made of composite materials, like the main deck floors and flaps. With 11,000 km (5,940 nm) it offers much more range compared with the earlier Il-86. An even longer range version is the Il-96-300V. A special variant, the Il-96-300PU, is used in the Russian presidential aircraft fleet operated by Rossiya Airlines.
Ilyushin developed several stretched versions, like the Il-96M and Il-96T. The Il-96M is a passenger airliner seating 350-436 passengers and the Il-96T is a cargo plane with a payload capability of 92 tons. These versions are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW2337 turbofans for better fuel efficiency and they also have western avionics (Rockwell Collins). The Il-96-400T is the same cargo aircraft with PS-90A1 engines and Russian avionics.
The first Il-96M, a converted Il-96-300, made its maiden flight on 6 April 1993. The first Il-96T freighter was rolled out on 26 April 1997 and three aircraft were delivered to Atlant-Soyuz Airlines. They were later transferred to all-cargo carrier Polet Airlines and are in storage now. Ilyushin considered several other models, including a twin-engined aircraft designated 'Il-98', fitted with big western turbofans like the Airbus A330. More versions were not built, however.
Of all Il-96 versions together less than thirty have been produced. The only customers still flying the aircraft type are Cubana and Rossiya Airlines.