Ilyushins on Ice

Many time-sensitive supplies for the region’s research stations are carried by the enormous aircraft.

Felix Reimann was granted privileged access to join the crew of an Ilyushin 76 from Cape Town to Antarctica, to learn more about the challenges of serving the frozen continent. Here he shares some of his favourite images and memories from an extraordinary trip.

It’s a calm summer morning at Cape Town’s busy international airport. Beautiful sunshine bounces off the terminal building, with light winds and mild conditions. All in all, we’ve perfect weather for taking this magnificent Volga Dnepr Ilyushin 76TD-90VD to the skies. Although a regular sight in the South African city during the polar summer, the enormous airliner, registered RA-76503 (c/n 2113422748), still turns heads as the Russian quad-jet taxies past passenger widebody examples from major European airlines.

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