Technical data
Type Il-86
Function Passenger
Year 1976
Crew 3...4
Engines 4*13,000kg NK-86 or NK-86A (since 1987)
Fuel consumption 11,300 kg/hour
Length 59.94m
Height 15.8m
Wingspan 40.06m
Wing area 320m2
Weight (kg)
Empty 111,500
Loaded 215,000
Landing 175,000
Wing Load (kg/m2) 672
Speed (km/h)
Cruising 900
Landing ?
Airstrip demand 2840m
Range 4600km
Range with max. load 3800km
Cruise Ceiling 12,000m
10000m ?min
Fuel 88,400kg
Cabin size LxWxH 44x5.7x261 m3
Seats (economy) 350
Seats (3-class) 234
Cargo 42,000kg

Il-86 by G.V.Novozhilov, Ilyushin OKB

Il-86 at London Heathrow 6th July 1997, from Steve's aircraft pictures

The first wide-body passenger jet to be developed by the USSR. Intended for medium domestic and international lines. Il-86 features advanced swept (35°) wing with ailerons, triple-slotted flaps, full-span leading edge slats and interceptors. Novelty for Soviet aircraft is third (central) leg in main undercarriage. On early design stages Il-86 had T-tail, but final aircraft layout became compete retreat from earlier Il-62 and Il-76. Crew consists of two pilots, engineer and (provision for) navigator.

Il-86 first took off on December 22, 1976 and started replacing Tu-154 and Il-62/Il-62M in December 1980. Closest Western counterparts are hree engined McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 in the US and the Airbus A300 twinjet in Western Europe.

Aircraft concept "baggage in hands, cargo in containers" gains popularity in the World, while inefficient and noisy turbojets (no high-bypass engines were available at the design time) restrict aircraft to mostly domestic operations. Il-86 high capacity and baggage storage capabilities allow aircraft remain in service on high density routes and charter flights. Wide range of allowed CG location makes possible baggage loading without weighting (first time in the world practice). Internal stairs allow passengers to load baggage to the cargo (lower) deck and proceed the upper (passenger) deck.

Il-86 was intended for congested domestic lines, but already on July 3 1981 crew of V.Mishustin opened first international route to Berlin. Other European capitals followed. In 1984 Il-86 crossed the equator on the way to Lagos. Currently Il-86 routes net cover no less than 85 cities in 64 countries.

32k Il-86 from Peter's Aviation Photo's, courtesy of Peter Bakema

The Il-86, of which some 120 units were built to date, is still used by airlines of the CIS mostly. Some found their way to Chinese Airlines. Thanks to their capacity and baggage storage capabilities, most Il-86 remain in service on high density routes and charter flights.

Some sources claim that Il-86 withdrawal from service started in 1993, but new international routes are established as late as 1997 (Erevan-Amsterdam-London). Now former CIS companies and aircraft manufacturers face a dilemma - to invest into modernization of the 20+ years old Il-86 (including avionics and interior upgrade) or to buy more Il-96Ms. But the majority of Il-86 operators are not in a position to afford modernization. The Il-86 exists in smaller quantities, and, therefore, the cost of modernization per one airframe will be higher.

TransAero (56k) and KrasAir (51k) Il-86, by Lukas Lusser @ Bird Publishing's Ultimate Aviation Marketplace

Some 100...120 units were built to date at the Voronezh factory until 1993, when production switched to Il-96. In 1995 GE proposed to use the components for its own CT-7 and CFM-56 aircraft engines, the latter of which, manufactured in conjunction with Snecma, may be installed in Russian Il-86 and Il-76 aircraft. Looks like those offers did not materialize.

As most of Soviet/Russian aircraft, Il-86 established several World Records. Following was demonstrated at Podmoskovnoe Aerodrome (USSR) by pilot G.Volokhov on closed circuit:

Date Closed Circuit PayloadSpeed
September 22, 1981 2000km 65000kg 975.3km/h
September 42, 1981 1000km 80000kg 962.0km/h
- Il-80 'Rossia'

  • "Russian aircraft since 1940" by Jean Alexander, p.142-143;
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  • Created July 12, 1999 Back to
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