To 88th anniversary of Mr. Novozhilov Genrikh VasilievichGeneral Designer is in fact Director of an industry
Interview of N.D.Talikov, Deputy General Director-General Designer of OJSC “IL”.
I came to the Design Bureau in 1968 being a young specialist after graduation of Institute. Gradually I learned the whole structure: General Designer – Ilyushin Sergey Vladimirovich, his first deputy – Novozhiliv Genrikh Vasilievich. That time the hierarchy was very strict. The definition “General Designer” was something sky-high. His first deputy – was also beyond reach.
I hardly met Sergey Vladimirovich, and I’ve started to work with Genrikh Vasilievich since 1971, when I was sent to flight testing as a representative of our Design Bureau. All the representatives who were at the flight testing, were under the wing of the General Designer. At that time he was Genrikh Novozhilov. Unfortunately, Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin was ill at that time and due to this reason couldn’t manage the company.
“General Designer” is a large definition. It is not only a designer and head of the enterprise. It is one of the global managers in the industry, in aviation industry, because it is simply impossible to produce an aircraft without closest work with many sectors of industry. General Designer in fact had also sweeping powers in the Ministry of Aviation Industry. At that time this position could be taken only by order of Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR. Of course, having received these powers he managed the whole industry of Aviation engineering, not only the Design Bureau
The first aircraft of Genrikh Novozhilov was IL-76. Having come to the Design Bureau in 1948 after graduation from the Aviation Institute, he appeared in the right place at the right time. Due to his intellect and abilities he moved up the career ladder rather fast. In due time Genrihk Novozhilov was even a leading engineer at flight testing of IL-54 aircraft. Unfortunately at the time of Khruschev this aircraft wasn’t put into production.
Genrikh Vasilievich headed operations department and managed IL-18 aircraft, which is widely known today. But at that time this aircraft took its initial steps. Therefore Novozhilov managed it, worked with the people and in fact with the whole industry, related companies, including “Aeroflot”. Due to this he was marked and appointed to this position and he was also offered a position of the Secretary of Party Committee of our company, which was famous and respectable those years. The position of the Secretary of Party Committee was the position of the District Committee. And Novozhilov perfectly approved himself here as well.
Of course, Sergey Ilyushin, who watched and supported Genrikh Vasilievich in his life, marked his abilities and appointed him as his First Deputy. In 1970 when Sergey Vladimirovich left his position, Novozhilov was appointed to the position of General Designer.
In 1971 IL-76 aircraft was already built. I started to meet it at flight testings, I dealed with aerial-delivery system, one of the most important aircraft specialties, as we considered. In 1975 I participated in the flight testings. I touched with the General Designer frequently as a person, who was responsible for engineering of the aircraft, for carrying out of flight testing at that period.
In those years I liked in Genrikh Novozhilov his ability to make decisions. The aircraft is rather complicated, however I can say that everything went with a swing. We managed a lot, but there were also rather difficult issues to be solved. Novozhilov wasn’t afraid of responsibility and making decisions. Of course, as any manager, he solved many issues with his assistants and deputies. The aircraft underwent the testing rather easily, and in the end of 1975 it was put into service. Extremely short period.
- It is really surprising, as there was no such experience of building such aircraft in Ilyushin Design Bureau.
Until that this niche was taken historically by the firm of Antonov. It was great firm and it is still great now. At that time they built aircraft, beginning from An-2, An-8, An-12, An-22. The Air Force and the government decided that there shouldn’t be turbopropeller aircraft only, and decided to implement new practices in the aircraft engineering. A more luxury aircraft in terms of flight characteristics should have been built.
At that time IL-62 aircraft was just born, which showed that Desighn Bureau of Ilyushin can build turbo-jet aircraft with good characteristics. Of course IL-12 and IL-14 can’t be disregarded, which operated in military aviation as transport aircraft. The achievements in creating of IL-18 also can’t be disregarded. All these contributed in Ilyushin Design Bureau credibility. When it came to the issue that it was time to change the image of military-transport aircraft as well, that the aircraft with other speed and integrity performance is needed, the design of IL-76 with turbo-jet engines was born.
We succeeded in building this aircraft. And it is due to the whole team, - Sergey Ilyushin, who began to engineer this aircraft, and Genrikh Vasilievich, who continued and in fact built this aircraft.
We celebrated 40th anniversary of its first flight recently. It is still in operation, it is a flagship of military-transport aviation, and not only it. IL-76 aircraft has so many specialties, that it is hard to list the options of this aircraft. To begin with civil aviation aircraft IL-76TD, refiller IL-78 aircraft, airborne early warning aircraft A-50, in other words it is a very big range of application.
In 1982 I was appointed at position of the Head of Design Bureau, the one, I represented at flight testing. I started to meet Genrikh Novozhilov rather frequently, as we continued to work on IL-76 and other aircraft. Our Design Bureau engineered not only cargo equipment and aerial-delivery system, but also ground equipment. We also were working out airborne measurements.
I met Genrikh Novozhilov frequently at different meetings. I always noticed in him ability to think, analyse and make decisions fast. Another his positive feature – speaking skills, he could speak to any person, to make his speech right. He can without a paper speak at any subject, he is familiar with. And it doesn’t matter if it is a meeting with his colleagues, or meeting in the Academy of Science, or, as it was at that time, or a council at the Ministry of aviation industry. He was the member of this council as General Designer. Novozhilov took many positions, apart from that he was the member of the Academy of Science, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR, different councils, he also was a deputy to the Supreme Soviet. As the deputy he represented Kazan and Armenia in the Supreme Soviet, in other words, he did big social work.
But the most important for me his virtue was his ability to trust people. I started to work at flight test when I was 25, and the issue was rather serious, - aerial-delivery system. We liasoned a lot with him at this issue. He always listened my offers attentively, telling his opinion, and I felt that he trusted me.
But the years go by and in 2006 Genrikh Vasilievich left the position of General Designer. I can understand him, he was 80 at that time. And today the position of General Designer deals with different economic issues, not only design tasks. Today engineering goes together with economic. Genrikh Vasilievich left the general management, but he stayed in the company as Adviser to General Director – General Designer of OJSC “IL” in science. And still he helps and supports us at nearly any issue.
27 October 2013 he reached 88 years, but he is as smart as many 30-year-old can envy. First, he has great experience; second, he can think clearly, he can give recommendations and find solutions to many issues. Many people from other companies come to him, almost every day, when he is at work. And, by the way, he is always at work. He comes at 9.00 strictly and leaves at 17.30. If he works at our enterprise, he is here every day. Or he tells to the secretary that he is in Academy, and everybody knows where he is. At least, he doesn’t take the advantage of his age, he works always and everywhere.
- You have mentioned IL-76. But in the years of Novozhilov’s directorship Ilyushin company built also other remarkable aircraft.
Yes, aside from many modifications of IL-76, it is first of all building of IL-86 aircraft. It made his first flight in 1976 and almost at once came to operation. For today it is considered the safest aircraft. 106 IL-86 aircraft were manufactured, two of them were crushed in accidents, where not a single passenger died. One aircraft was crushed during performing of technical flight in “Sheremetievo” airport area, because of the crew mistake. Another one died in India on ground, when Boeing 737 fell on it.
But due to different reasons the aircraft now is almost out of operation, though it could fly a lot yet. Today there are three planes in operation. They are its modification IL-80 – flying staffs, it is still main aircraft of the General Staff.
Then goes IL-96. By the way, 28 September it reached 25 years since its first flight. This aircraft operates, but again economic situation, problems of the industry, and it is hardly being produced. In all its characteristics it is not worse than Boeing 767.
The aircraft has its modification. Cargo IL-96-400T aircraft was built at the base of IL-96. Now two more aircraft are being worked out at the base of this aircraft. Therefore it is not disposed, it goes further.
There was also IL-114 aircraft. I call it “victim of Perestroika”. The aircraft itself with TB7-117 engines failed because of the engine, which wasn’t produced at that time. But as soon as we made this aircraft by request of Uzbekistan with PW127 engines, the aircraft started to fly, started to shine as a diamond. At hearing in Duma test-pilot of the Aviation Certificate Center of the State Scientific Research Institute of Civil Aviation, Yesayan said a lot of nice things about this aircraft.
Now eight IL-114 aircraft are operated by Uzbekistan Aviation company, with perfect characteristics for regional aircraft: 1,6 thousand – 1,8 thousand hours a year with minimum of rejections. I consider it a very good rate. But unfortunately this aircraft is not seen in Russia. In Russia they see at the aircraft of ATR, Embrarer and other foreign companies.
- Yes, I know this problem. In Russia there is no a manufacturer for it.
- There can be a manufacturer in Russia. We have worked out a technical and economical feasibility for this aircraft and presented to interested persons. To put it into mass production 10.5 billion rubles are needed. At once we received information from the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, that it lends $2.5 billion to operators, so that they could buy ATR and other aircraft. I understand that 10.5 billion rubles and four years is long money, and $2.5 billion is fast money, they can be returned rather fast. But somehow people, who count the money, do not understand that aviation is a science-based strategic industry and a lot of things are being built at this base.
- Who could manufacture IL-114 in Russia?
- There were in Russia those who wish, they are plants in Nizhny Novgorod, in Smolensk. But due to some reasons aviation companies do not want to operate this aircraft, because, again, they need to receive economical effect today. I perfectly understand their point of view, we lost this time, and this is why I call this aircraft “victim of Perestroyka”.
If we worked according to Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR plans, as it was planned, and the aircraft was put into mass production normally with TB7-117 engines, and there were 1.5 thousand items of them ordered, the aircraft would go normally today, because his flight characteristics and economic are at the level of ATR, Q400 and other aircraft. Economic is the same: fuel – 550-600 kg/hour, passenger capacity is approximately from 45 to 64, Uzbekistan aircraft are operated in the option of 52 passengers. Bad luck with TB7-117 engine. And there is no engine for today and we don’t know when it will be built. This is the destiny of IL-114.
Another aircraft, which was built under the leadership of Novozhilov, was IL-103. It is 5-seat aircraft, including pilot. It was built by our initiative. Not very big series were planned. It was intended for business aviation, as training aircraft for aviation schools. First of all for estimation of professional suitability of young men, who came to the school. It is not uncommon, that it becomes clear only by the third course that one can not fly because of specific of vestibular system, or other reasons.
We have built about 60 aircraft, 23 of them were sold to South Korea. It is this aircraft which is used now as “flying desk” in the Air Force of this country, in the aviation college (there is only one aviation college in South Korea). IL-103 flies rather successfully. We have lost only two planes, one of them touched high-voltage line in Korea, another one in Russia during performing of an aerobatic maneuver at unallowable low height. Both accidents happened due to human-factor aspect. The other aircraft fly. Six planes are in Peru, some in Byelorussia, and, if I am not mistaken, in Lao.
In Russia there are four or five aircraft left. I know, that two or three planes fly in Vladimir forest protection.
- Why IL-103 is not being produced now?
- Why? Because again there are foreign “second hand” aircraft, which are cheaper. This aircraft was being produced at a plant in Lukhovitsy, but the time has passed. That is why its manufacture stopped. The question on renewal of IL-103 aircraft arose many times. Recently this question was solved. At least as I was told, this question is nearly solved. But, unfortunately, not in Russia.
IL-103 aircraft has two certificates: Russian and American, as IL-96. All our aircraft are certified. IL-114 has a certificate as well, but Russian, and several attachments to them.
This is as for the work of Genrikh Novozhilov. It’s a great work. It must be confessed, that beginning with IL-14, all the Design Bureau aircraft were in the government troops. This means not only credibility to the firm, but the great responsibility. Do you remember, as in 2005 hardly all the IL-96 aircraft were dismissed after an incident with PPO’s aircraft? General Directors of “VASO” were dismissed, and we were close to it as well.
- Of course I remember. Completely unreasonable stop of operation of the whole IL-96 aircraft fleet for several months during the tourist season was a severe hurt to IL-96 reputation, as well as for economic of Russian aviation companies, operating these aircraft. To my mind, it never recovered. After such actions of aviation authorities aviation companies do not risk to work with Russian aircraft.
- Yes, it was a hard blow. Similar incident happened in America with Boeing 747, when Bush was the President, but nobody was dismissed. It was taken as a normal technical question. But here the problem was exaggerated too much. Unfortunately, to my mind, there is more politics, which we couldn’t influence. When IL-86 fell in “Sheremetievo”, there also was a big problem: the aircraft is unsafe, it doesn’t provide, it can not and so on. The only one speech of Genrikh Vasilievich in AR IAC solved everything. He unscrambled everything within 10 minutes and convinced the committee that there was a human-factor aspect, and the aircraft is not to blame. Heading the operation department he gained such an experience which helps him to find the essence, lead to the end, in order to understand finally the reason of the problem. And here he needed to find the reason in order the same not to happen on the other planes. And he did it. And what is the main, another his unique feature worked. Ten minutes was enough for him to give focused, right and sensible conclusion. Novozhilov can do it. He can unscramble everything, persuade the opponent in his point of view. And without any pressure he can persuade his opponent that it is his opinion as a person and as a professional.