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Ilyushin Il-96 Camber - Program

IL-96, despite the resemblance to IL-86, in fact, represented a new project. The Il-96-300 differs from its predecessor IL-86 by 5.5 meters shorter fuselage, wing span and more reduced sweep angle, the increased size of the vertical stabilizer, improved interior passenger compartment. Its design employs new alloys and composite materials increased share. The plane has an automatic system to control fuel consumption. Particular attention was paid to the reliability and safety of operation of the airplane.

The fuselage substantially modified to improve its reliability, safety in case of damage, reduce the rate of growth of cracks, providing a fixed resource, reduce weight and improve the quality of the outer surface. The horizontal tail of the IL-96 is the same as that of IL-86, but the area of the vertical stabilizer was increased by increasing its height by two meters. The need to increase the area of the vertical tail was due to the requirement for improved directional stability in the event of failure of one engine.

The IL-96-300 wide-body airplane is designed to carry passengers, luggage and cargoes at long-haul routes. By the mid-1970s, almost all long-haul air travel in the USSR and the socialist countries were carried out on the Il-62. However, the capabilities of these aircraft could not respond to the full extent of the rapid growth of the volume of long-distance transport: due to the relatively small number of passenger flights increased, respectively, growing burden on airports.

During the first half of the 1970s, concurrently with the development of the IL-86, the Experimental Design Bureau n/a S.V. Ilyushin began the project-research work on a wide-body long-range passenger airliner. It was started in 1978 when Ilyushin design bureau directed by Genrikh Novozhilov began projecting new high-capacity aircraft with four turbojet engines able to cover long distances. The IL-96 was designed under the leadership of S.V. Ilyushin as a result of Ilyushin Design Bureau research to create a successor to the IL-86 long-range jetliner.

In 1978, using the results of the project Il-86D, the Design Bureau started to develop IL-96 with a T-tail, high aspect ratio wing with supercritical profiles and an area of 387 sq.m. At the very beginning, the designers intended to modify the IL-86 in order to achieve the target. Studies of this variant were made until 1983. Designers facedconstantly growing needs for reduction of the passenger-kilometer operational cost, increase of payload and passenger capacity with simultaneous increase of the flight range and reduced fuel consumption.

In April 1997, the first mass-produced IL-96T airlifter was rolled from the gates of the Voronezh Aircraft Plant (VASO). Unfortunately, because of certain circumstances, the first aircraft of this type to have been built was not a passenger airliner for 380 to 400 seats, but the cargo version. Throughout the years, a large amount of hard work was done together with the CIS IAC for certification of these aircraft with the Register of the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 1999, the IL-96T received, for the first time in the aviation history of Russia, FAA Type Certificates.

Over the years, interest in purchasing Russian-made long-haul aircraft was shown by Venezuela, Peru, China and several countries in the Middle East. Some countries even signed the relevant agreements, but the Il-96 took off only in the Caribbean, including one Russian aircraft which was delivered to Cuba as a presidential plane. Now the airline Cubana de Aviación operates five of these planes, and its passengers highly appreciate flying on airplanes of this type.

At one point the end of the production seemed in sight and even imminent, because Cubana is the only non-Russian company to order this aircraft. As of 2008 a total of 20 aircraft are built and all of them are flying: three (among them are main and reserve RF President Airlines Il-96-300PU) in State Transportation Company "Russia", six in Aeroflot, two in Krasnoyarsk Airlines (KrasAir), one in DAL (was given for lease to Cuban air company Cubana de Aviacion), three in Domodedovo Airlines and one (cargo version) in Atlant-Soyuz.

Special air squadron of the Department for Presidential Affairs of the Russian Federation received a new Il-96-300PU with engine PS-90 developed by Aviadvigatel in February 2014. This is the fourth plane of this type in the presidential fleet. All liners are equipped such engines. The first Il-96-300PU was made for President of Russia Boris Yeltsin and put into operation in 1995. The second took off in April 2003, the third, in August 2012. All liners have engines PS-90A developed by Perm design bureau Aviadvigatel. The government squadron has been since its establishment operating aircraft equipped with Perm engines. Today, the special air squadron “Russia” is leading by the number of jets with Perm engines. The accumulated operating time of engines of PS-90A family exploited by the special squadron amounted to approximately 130 thousand hours by the beginning of January 2014.

The Il-96 was partially "saved" by the Ministry of Defense, which in 2013 ordered the construction of aircraft-tankers based on the cargo version of the Il-96-400. In early 2014, the presidential office said it had ordered another two Il-96-300s from the Voronezh Aircraft Plant, to be delivered by the end of 2015.

In 2014 it was reported that Voronezh Aircraft Production Association agreed on the construction plan of 14 Il-96 liners, 11 of which would be transferred to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. The first plane will be built for the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu and was transferred to the customer in 2015. The part bought the Ministry of Defense can be converted to Il-96 in air refuellers.

On November 17, 2015 Alexander Korolkov, special to RBTH, reported that Russian aircraft giant Ilyushin had announced plans to restart production of its Il-96 airliner amid fears of possible US sanctions against the Russian air industry. Manufacture of the four-engine giants was suspended in 2009 only by the military and the government, could see a return to civilian use.

A year earlier, the resumption of mass production of Russian long-haul aircraft was out of the question; on the contrary, Aeroflot was removing the Il-96 from its fleet. In all, the airline had six Il-96-300s, which had been used since 1995. The air carrier attributed the decision to the aging planes and their low economic efficiency. The aircraft were to be replaced by the American Boeing 747 – the very plane that the Il-96-300 was originally created to compete with in the post-Soviet era.

In light of the political tensions between Russia and the U.S. and the ongoing economic sanctions against Moscow over its role in the Ukraine conflict, the current dependence of the Russian air industry on Boeing and Airbus was seen as a potential weakness.

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Page last modified: 18-07-2021 18:42:11 ZULU