Il-96 – presidential aircraft: 20 years in the sky
On 12 October 1996 the maiden flight of the first long-range wide-body aircraft Il-96-300 took place. The aircraft was designed for transportation of the nation’s first person.
Pilot in command – A. Kokalin, OJSC Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (now – JSC VASO). The new aircraft replaced the presidential Il-62M which was previously used by national leaders.
Special modifications of the Il-96-300 are currently used as the presidential aircraft of the Russian Federation. They ensure high flight safety and allow the President to work during flights: communicate with ministries and departments, serve as the Commander-in-Chief. Besides, the aircraft can serve as a platform for meetings and negotiations.
It is planned that the further development of Il-96 line of aircraft will become the wide-body long-range passenger Il-96-400, which is being created in order to improve this type of aircraft and increase its transport opportunities by lengthening the fuselage and installation of more powerful PS-90A1 engines instead of PS-90A.
The Il-96-400 will take up to 370 passengers. The aerodynamic configuration, structure and aircraft systems will involve modern design concepts ensuring high level of safety and economy in operation. Modern materials used in the structure will help to decrease the aircraft weight, providing the necessary toughness at the same time.
At the present time two specially modified Il-96-400 are operated in the federal aviation for transportation of officials.
OJSC «Il» has the expertise necessary to build a presidential aircraft on the basis of the Il-96-400.