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.
AirTeamImages.com/Wolfgang 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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