10 Things to Know about the Ilyushin-76TD

10 Things to Know about the Ilyushin-76

1) The Ilyushin-76 was originally designed for delivering heavy machinery to remote areas of the USSR.

As such it needed to meet the requirements for a heavy-lift freighter with good speed and range, able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips, and capable of coping with the worst weather conditions likely to be experienced in Siberia and the Soviet Union’s Arctic regions. Perfect for Antarctic air operations!

2) A school bus can fit inside an Ilyushin 76.

In fact, a lot of things can fit inside an IL-76. Along with the Boeing C-17, it is one of the largest bush planes in the world and is unmatched for its unique capability to carry weight over distance from airports with little or no loading devices.

3) The IL-76 can transport up to 60 passengers or two shipping containers worth of cargo.

It’s total payload capacity comes to 17,500 kg.


4) ALE’s IL-76 has completed two Antarctic airdrops for Argentina’s Belgrano II Station.

Each mission delivered approximately 166 tonnes of food, fuel and equipment over nine, 3700 mile (6000 km) round-trip flights.


5) The IL-76 has an onboard crane, capable of lifting up to 10 tonne.

This crane is used for loading and unloading large and heavy cargo items.


6) The flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Union Glacier, Antarctica takes roughly 4 ¼ hours.

The IL-76 cruises at an altitude of 31,000-35,000 ft (9450-10670 m).

Eric Larsen

7) The IL-76 was originally built as a military/cargo aircraft with hard benches for passengers.

ALE’s IL-76 is outfitted with traditional airline-type seats for guests, we only make our staff sit on the troop benches!


8) The captain and co-pilot sit in the upper flight deck, while the navigator has his own bubble down below.


9) The main cabin only has a few small windows.

A camera positioned in the navigator’s bubble is connected to a screen in the passenger cabin and provides fantastic live footage of the take-off and landing.


10) ALE has completed almost 300 IL-76 landings on blue-ice runways in Antarctica.

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