Photo Credit: Bui Tuan Khiem on Airliners.net
The Ilyushin Il-96 is a shortened, long-range, and advanced technology development of the Soviet Union’s first widebody airliner, the Ilyushin Il-86. It features supercritical wings fitted with winglets, a glass cockpit, and a fly-by-wire control system. It was first flown in 1988 and certified in 1992. The basic Il-96-300 is equipped with modern Russian avionics integrating six multi-function colour LCD displays, inertial and satellite navigation systems, and a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (including mode “S”). It allows the airplane to be operated with two crew members. The avionics correspond to modern requirements on international routes in Europe and North America (RNP-1) and allow navigation and landing under ICAO CAT III/A conditions. The Il-96 is offered in three main variants: the Il-96-300, Il-96M/T and Il-96-400.
The Il-96-300 has a standard passenger capacity of 262 seats in a two-class configuration with 18 seats with a seat pitch of 54 inches (140 cm) and 244 seats with a pitch of 32 inches (81 cm), of which typical seating is 3-3-3 (layout), but low density seating is 2-4-2 (layout possible). Galleys are positioned on the upper deck, and the lower deck can accommodate 18 LD-3 containers and crew rest areas. Although its list price is more than 30% lower than equivalent Western types, Russian airlines are not particularly eager to buy it.
On 11 August 2009 Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko announced that manufacturing of the Il-96-300 would cease. In particular, the Il-96-300 had been deemed inferior to counterparts from Boeing and Airbus, and the manufacturer could not arrange commercially viable mass production, making only one aircraft per year. The Il-96-400T cargo version was to remain in production.
On 9 October 2015, it was announced that an updated version of the Il-96 may be produced. This decision was taken due to the current diplomatic situation between Russia and the West, and the dependency of the Russian Aerospace Industry on Airbus and Boeing.
My Thoughts: A rather beautiful 4 engined craft from the motherland, which would look great in IF and add some variety among the sea of Airbus’s and Boeing’s that currently fill the skies.