The Ilyushin Il-86 (Ильюшин Ил-86, NATO code name "Camber") was the first (and arguably the last) widebody airliner produced in the Soviet Union. It made its first flight in 1976 and entered Aeroflot's fleet in 1980. By the time production stopped in 1994, over 120 had been built: many are still operated by Aeroflot, Ural Airlines, Atlant Soyuz, Transeuropean, and Transaero in Russia, as well as Kazakstan Airlines, Armenian Airlines, and Uzbekistan Airways. China Northern Airlines also purchased a few.

The aircraft is comparable in size to the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 or Lockheed Tristar, seating 235 to 350 passengers in a nine-abreast layout. It has four Kuznetsov turbofan engines, giving it an appearance similar to an Airbus A340 or a fat Boeing 707. Perhaps its most unique design feature is that passengers board below the main deck, stow their luggage there, and then go upstairs to their seats.

Before the fall of the USSR, Il-86's were common on Aeroflot's major routes, but when Aeroflot's fleet was expanded to include Western aircraft, the Il-86's shortcomings became apparent. Its engines are very underpowered and consume tons of fuel in comparison to American and European designs, which limits the plane's range to around 2,000 miles. This has largely relegated the Il-86 to charter use, and to high-density short-range flights within Russia.

Some of the Il-86's problems were rectified in its successor, the Ilyushin Il-96. However, the reduced demand for Soviet aircraft after the end of the Cold War made the Il-96 too little, too late, and the Il-86 remains the only large Russian airliner to see any widespread use.

One Il-86 was heavily modified for the Soviet president's use, while three more were built as airborne command posts with a large radar bulge atop the fuselage.


Length: 195'4" (59,4 m)
Wingspan: 157'8" (48 m)
Range: 2,000 mi (3.300 km)
Airspeed: 560 mph (900 km/h)

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