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28th of September 1988

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

The Ilyushin Il-96, the four-engined long haul widebody airliner made its first flight on this day in 1988.

Russian Federation Air Force Ilyushin Il-96-400VPU

Based on the Ilyushin IL-86, the first Rissian widebody airliner, the Il-96 has a shorter fuselage and other changes compared to its longer sister;

  • Supercritical wings

  • Winglets

  • Glass cockpit with 6 multifunction colour LCD's

  • Fly by wire controls

  • Inertial and Global Navigation Satelite Systems for navigation enabling RNP operations

  • CAT IIIA landing capable

There are several variants of the Il-96

Il-96-300 This is the initial variant of the Il-96, development of the mid-80s of the last century. It has a standard capacity of 262 passengers in a 2 class layout. Powerplants are Aviadvigatel (Soloviev) PS-90A turbofans that provide 35.300 lbf (16.000kg) of thrust. A customised version of the Il-96-300 is operated by the Russian Air Force as the presidential aircraft (see the picture at the beginning of the blog), also the Cuban government operates an Il96-300 as presidential aircraft. Plans have been made to have another version, the Il-96-300V. This version would have had two airstairs similar to those on the Il-86 Il-96M

A stretched version (30 ft / 10 meters) with upgraded avionics =, as it is 33.000 lbs (15 tons) heavier than the Il-96-300 and is powered by P&W PW2337 engines providing 37.000 lbs of thrust, With 312 passengers (or a 203.000 lb / 92.000 kg payload) it has a range of 5600 nm (10.400 km)

Il-96M showing of its length


A Russian version of the Il-96M. Russian version because it is equipped with Russian Avionics and engines (Aviadvigatel PS-90A1). The maximum passenger load is 436 passengers in a single class configuration and 386 passengers in a two-class configuration. In a bid to win an aerial tanker contract the Il-96-400VT was proposed early in 2010.

Another special version of this aircraft is the Project Zweno-3S doomsday plane for the Russian Air Force, two aircraft are being converted to fulfil this role.

Il-96T Freighter version of the Il-96-400

Il-96T Freighter version

Il-96-400M A p[anned new version of the Il-96-400 and basically is a passenger version of the Il-96T with a capacity for 390 passengers. In April 2021nthe mass production plans for the aircraft were shelved due to the effects of air travel as a result of the Covid pandemic

Il-96-400M under construction


Proposed in January 2015 this will be the aerial tanker for the Russian Air Force. It will be equipped with the ORM-1 refuelling system, proven on other tankers in the Russian Air Force.

Undesignated Twin As the era of quad powered aircraft is closing down, Ilyushin is studying a twin version that would be powered by two Aviadvigatel PD-35s (76.000 lbs thrust). An engine developed from the Aviadvigatel PD-14. to be running in 2025.

Some basic specifications of the Il-96-300;

  • Length: 181' (55.3 meters)

  • Span: 197' (60.11 meters)

  • MTOW: 529.000 lbs (240.000 kg)

  • Cruise speed: 460kn (850 kph)

  • Ceiling: (36.000' (12.000 meters)

  • Range (maximum): 7200nm (13.500 km)

  • Fuel burn: 7300 kg/h

  • Powerplants: 4x PS-90 turbofans

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