Ilyushin Il-86: First Soviet widebody

Alexander Mladenov and Krassimir Grozev examine the Il-86’s development and service career.

An Il-86 wearing the classic Soviet-era Aeroflot livery taking of from Düsseldorf in 1994. The type remained in active service with Aeroflot until 2008. Mendorf

In the late 1960s the Soviet Union’s civil aviation sector saw a rapid growth thanks to the expanding domestic route network. Aeroflot, the monopoly airline in the Soviet Union, articulated the need for a large-capacity airliner to be used on the busiest routes between several hubs. The initial set of requirements for the new design, expected to facilitate a further growth of the domestic passenger operations, was defined in 1967. Aeroflot asked the Soviet Union’s aircraft industry to provide an all-new aircraft for transporting 250 to 300 passengers over a 1,944nm (3,600km) distance. It was required to feature an 88,185lb (40 tonne) maximum payload and be capable of operating from runways no longer than 8,530ft (2,600m).

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