Ilyushin Il-62

Soviet long-range narrow-body airliner
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A Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-62M


Narrow-body jet airlinerType of aircraft

Design group


Built by


First flight

3 January 1963


Il-62 – 15 September 1967
Il-62M – 9 March 1974


In limited service

Primary users

Air Koryo
Aeroflot (former)
Russian VIP transport
LOT Polish Airlines (former)



Number built

292 (5 prototypes; 94 Il-62; 193 Il-62M)

The Ilyushin Il-62 (Russian: Илью́шин Ил-62; NATO reporting name: Classic) is a Soviet long-range narrow-body jetliner conceived in 1960 by Ilyushin. As successor to the popular turboprop Il-18 and with capacity for almost 200 passengers and crew, the Il-62 was the world\’s largest jet airliner when first flown in 1963. The sixth quad engined, long-range jet airliner to fly (the predecessors being the De Havilland Comet (1949), Boeing 707 (1954), Douglas DC-8 (1958), Vickers VC10 (1962), and experimental Tupolev Tu-110 (1957)), it was the first such type to be operated by the Soviet Union and a number of allied nations.

The Il-62 entered Aeroflot civilian service on 15 September 1967 with an inaugural passenger flight from Moscow to Montreal, and remained the standard long-range airliner for the Soviet Union (and later, Russia) for several decades. It was the first Soviet pressurised aircraft with non-circular cross-section fuselage and ergonomic passenger doors, and the first Soviet jet with six-abreast seating (the turboprop Tu-114 shared this arrangement) and international-standard position lights.

Over 30 nations operated the Il-62 with over 80 examples exported and others having been leased by Soviet-sphere and several Western airlines. The Il-62M variant became the longest-serving model in its airliner class (average age of examples in service as of 2016 is over 32 years). Special VIP (salon) and other conversions were also developed and used as head-of-state transport by some 14 countries. However, because it is expensive to operate compared to newer generation airliners, the number in service was greatly reduced after the 2008 Great Recession. The Il-62\’s successors include the wide-bodied Il-86 and Il-96, both of which were made in much smaller numbers and neither of which was widely exported.

Example of the dual-engined nacelle located on opposing sides of the rear fuselage
Six-abreast cabin
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The Il-62 is a conventional all-metal low-wing monoplane of riveted sectional semi-monocoque construction to fail-safe design principles (a structure designed so that failure of one major member does not cause immediate failure of the whole). Its service life was initially set at 30,000 flight hours and subject to extensions and curtailments according to the quality of service procedures, inspection and manufacturer\’s bulletins. The aircraft features pressurised cabin and freight holds (with fuselage dimensions of 3.8 m width x 4.1 m height), duplex all-mechanical flight controls, though with twin electric motors for tailplane incidence control; hydraulic nosewheel steering, landing gear and tail strut actuation, and wheel brakes. The Il-62M has spoilers and lift dumpers which extend automatically upon landing and are hydraulically operated. Control surfaces include a variable-incidence tailplane with dynamically and weight-compensated elevators with trim tabs, triple-section tabbed ailerons (outermost for low speed and innermost for high speed) which are interlinked with a torsion bar, spoilerons (Il-62M), spoilers and lift dumpers, and pneumatically actuated thrust reversers on the two outboard engines (the reversers are flight-rated on the Il-62M).

27 V AC electrics are used throughout with a TA-6 auxiliary power unit (a turbine generator which supplies electric power and air conditioning on the ground) in the lower tailcone plus backup lead-zinc batteries.

The aircraft uses conventional hot air de-icing using engine bleed air. Its sea level is equivalent to 2,400 m (8,000 ft) above mean sea level and thereafter reducing to the equivalent of 2,400 m (8,000 ft) to cruise altitude. It was originally built with no automatic oxygen masks; emergency supply comprises hatrack-housed oxygen bottles and masks for manual distribution to passengers by cabin crew. Since 1997, most aircraft have been retrofitted with automatic oxygen supply systems with drop-down masks.

Its avionics include a Polyot-1 automatic flight control system (a \”super autopilot,\” able to be programmed with a set route which it can fly without human intervention but under constant flight crew monitoring; ICAO Cat. 1 approaches standard, Cat. 2 optional), Doppler navigational radar replaced by triplex INSS (Inertial Navigation System Sets) on Il-62M after 1978 and by Satellite navigation sets on many aircraft after 1991, triple VHF and HF flightdeck radios, automatic direction finders, Soviet and Western instrument landing system receivers, vertical omnidirectional radio range and radio beacon receivers, duplex radio altimeters, automatic radio transponders, a full ICAO-standard navigation lights fit, cabin tannoy and intercom systems. Soviet/Russian and Warsaw Pact sovereign examples are additionally fitted with triplex \”Odd Rods\” (NATO code name) IFF (identification friend or foe) air defence transponders identifiable by three closely spaced short aerials.

Emergency evacuation systems include inflatable life rafts and manually extendable canvas evacuation slides. Most aircraft are now retrospectively fitted with emergency floor lighting strips and some aircraft equipped with automatically inflatable evacuation slides. Fire extinguishers are sited in engine nacelles, flightdeck compartment, cabin crew rest areas and toilets.

Overhead panel.

The Il-62 offers accommodation for up to 198 passengers in a single-class layout, seated six-abreast at 84 cm (33 in) seat pitch in two cabins separated by a vestibule, galley/pantry and cabin crew rest area. There are three toilets, forward, midships, and aft. It has a buffet/bar and a further cabin crew rest area in a vestibule forward, with a further optional cabin crew rest area aft. Typical mixed-class accommodation ranges between 128 and 144, seated four or six abreast, and a common single aisle configuration for long distance Aeroflot examples was first class (2-abreast) 3 rows, business class (3-abreast) 4 rows, economy class (3-abreast) 17 rows (Thiel, 2001). In this configuration, the central aisle in business and economy classes is quite narrow. A first class compartment is optionally sited aft of forward entry door or just forward of midships entry door, with an economy compartment further forward in the latter case. \”Skycot\” fitments are located in hatracks, while later Il-62Ms (1978 onwards) feature enclosed hatracks. Customer-optionable interior fitments. No in-flight entertainment systems are available except a public-address system that may be coupled to an open-reel or audio cassette player. Individual aircraft were experimentally fitted with television sets for Soviet-standard videotape entertainment during the 1970s. Some aircraft were retrospectively fitted with Western in-flight entertainment (solely audio) systems after 1991.

Similarities to VC10

A sideline to the Il-62 story concerns alleged industrial espionage. As the Il-62 was developed at about the same time as the VC10, to which it bears a marked external resemblance, British Cold War commentators implied that the VC10 design may have been copied by dubbing the Il-62 the \”VC10-ski.\” (Thiel, 2001), but no evidence of this was ever presented. There are significant differences between the Il-62 and the VC10, as the Soviet type is larger, lifts a greater load, and is designed for use exclusively at developed airports whereas the British type can adapt to \”up-country\” bases. Unlike the VC10, the Il-62 uses conservative technology, such as mechanical control surface linkages, and is an entirely civilian machine, whereas the VC10 was designed to serve as both a civilian airliner and military airlifter and freighter. The Il-62 found more buyers and was built in much larger numbers than the VC10 (292 vs 54), and as of November 2018 many examples are still in service. On the other hand, the VC10 has been retired from that role (in 1966 BOAC described the aircraft as uneconomic and asked for government subsidies to continue operating it, although some VC10s were used by Britain\’s Royal Air Force in support roles). China and Czechoslovakia were two countries that cancelled orders for the VC10 (for CAAC and Czechoslovak Airlines, respectively) and purchased the Il-62 instead (see VC10: Sales and airline service).

Operational history

Rossiya Il-62 at Munich Airport in 2006
Il-62 of United Arab Airlines in Rome in 1971
Il-62M of LOT Polish Airlines in 1987, 3 weeks before it crashed

After the introduction of the Il-62M, Aeroflot (the largest operator of the plane) gradually upgraded and later replaced its fleet of NK-8 powered Il-62s with the newer Soloviev D-30 KU-powered Il-62M. Coupled with engine nacelle and other modifications, greatly reduced the chance of contiguous powerplant damage. By mid-1973, the airline was operating 60 Il-62s, and by 1989 this had increased to 165 (Il-62 and Il-62M). The Il-62M had a dispatch rate with Aeroflot of 97% with some examples logging as many as 17 flight hrs/day, and it was described as the most reliable type in the fleet at that time. It set several international records in its class, mostly exemplifying a range capability far in excess of the conservative Aeroflot calculations applied in Soviet times. Some of these records were set by an all-woman crew of five captained by Iraida (\”Inna\”) Vertiprahova. With 10 tonnes of freight, the Il-62M had a maximum range of 10,300 km compared to 9,412 km for the VC10 carrying the same weight. With a 23 tonne payload, the Il-62M range was 8000 km, compared to 6,920 km for a Boeing 707 with maximum payload. Because of its capacity, the plane has historically been used for emergency civilian evacuation flights, one of the most notable being the landing of an Aeroflot-registered Il-62 at Santiago Airport, Chile on the night of 10 September 1973 (the day before the military coup by Augusto Pinochet) in order to evacuate 147 Cuban embassy personnel. In April 2015 two EMERCOM Il-62Ms (including RA-86495 of the Russian Federation Air Force) were used to evacuate around 900 foreign nationals and Yemenis from Sanaa during the Saudi-led military operation against Yemen.

The Il-62 was said to be well regarded by pilots and passengers alike, especially for its strong directional stability in high turbulence (although landings are sometimes bouncy), smooth cruising ability and very quiet interior in cruise mode due partly to engine placement. Although the original Il-62 was rated for a service life of 23 years and was criticised for heavy fuel consumption, upgraded M versions are sometimes rated for 50 years and have greatly improved operational economics. One of the drawbacks of the original Il-62 design was the lack of a cargo bay roller transfer system, which necessitated manual loading of pre-packaged baggage and cargo thus making preparation of the aircraft rather slow (a cargo/baggage conveyance system is standard on the Il-62M). There is relatively easy access to all serviceable mechanical components including the engines whilst the plane\’s thrust reversal capabilities allows reverse taxiing without the need for tow vehicles. Powerplant overhaul intervals varied between specifications and maintenance procedures and between the thrust reverse-capable outer engines and the inner ones. Czech Airlines operated an early Il-62 on a proving basis up to 3000 hrs between overhauls, which was well beyond the recommended (and their usual) intervals which were nearer 2000 hrs although Interflug were able to designate up to 5000 hrs with their service facilities. Subsequent upgrades to some Il-62Ms provided for 6000 hr overhaul intervals (with total engine life of 18,000–20,000 hrs). Later examples of the Il-62M remain in regular commercial service (as of 2016), and the type also sees continued use as a VIP/head of state transport.

Although the plane\’s safety record does not equal that of later airliners, there were no fatal accidents involving an Il-62 between 1989 and 2009 during which time the highest number of planes were in service. Several Il-62/M accidents over the first decades of operation mainly involved runway overruns or aborted takeoffs. The braking system employed the reverse thrust of the outer engines only, and if for some reason one or other failed to engage, the aircraft could become difficult to steer for an unprepared pilot. In seven takeoff or landing accidents there were no fatalities, a testament to the high level of structural integrity, and in two cases with landing-related fatalities these were due to the aircraft colliding with structures near the runway . The Il-62/M fuselage features a strengthened hull with \’ski\’ keel originally designed to allow for an undercarriage-up emergency landing (in practice the undercarriage and landing gear proved extremely reliable). The trade-off for the reinforced airframe is the relatively high fuel consumption and some airlines such as Interflug modified their planes to reduce fuel consumption.

Production is said to have continued until 1995, although continuous production ended in 1993. Including prototypes, total production is surmised as being 289. However, the factory states 292 (5 prototypes, 94 Il-62s and 193 Il-62Ms).

Four aircraft remained unsold at the factory as of 1997, while the last delivery was reportedly RA-86586 of Magma, built in 1995, but only delivered in 1999 as a result of tariffs imposed on imported western aircraft. The last airframe was built in 2004 for the Sudanese government.

During the Syrian Civil War, Russian Aerospace Forces Il-62M were observed flying between Russia and Syria. Starting at the end of 2015, with the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, Russian Aerospace Forces Il-62M were frequently reported departing and landing at the Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia, Syria, moving materiel and personnel in and out of Syria.


Initial production version, powered by four 23,150-lb (103.0 kN) Kuznetsov NK-8 turbofan engines, accommodation for a crew of five and 186 passengers.
Improved version, powered by four 24,250-lb (107.9 kN) Soloviev D-30KU turbofan engines, accommodation for a crew of five and 174 passengers, equipped with containerised baggage and freight system, modified wing spoilers and a revised flight deck, plus increased fuel capacity.
Medium-range version, powered by four 24,250-lb (107.9 kN) Soloviev D-30KU turbofan engines, accommodation for a crew of five and 195 passengers, equipped with strengthened wings and landing gear for operations at higher gross weights.
Cargo version of Il-62M


Civil operators

As of July 2017, a total of six Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft remained in passenger or government service (excluding converted freighter versions).

Rada Airlines (2)
 North Korea
Air Koryo (4 are operated by Air Koryo; 2 are in commercial service; 2 in VIP livery and configuration and are owned by the Government of North Korea)

Operational history

Over 30 countries have operated the Il-62 since 1967, although exports did not begin until initial Aeroflot needs had been met (rapid replacement of Tu-114s on international services). First exports were in late 1969 to CSA Czechoslovak Airlines. The pattern was similar with the Il-62M, of which the first export (to Cubana) was delayed until 1977. Among Eastern Bloc nations, Bulgaria and Hungary did not operate the Il-62 series, although Hungary briefly leased one example pending Boeing 767 services in 1990. As a curiosity, Malév Hungarian Airlines was the first and only foreign airline to order the IL-62 according to the October 1967 issue of Flight International. In 1968 the new political trend called \”New Economic Mechanism\” introduced by the Hungarian Council of Ministers led to the deletion of the order, because of financing problems. This was due, among other more important reasons, to heavy anti-Ilyushin lobbying by Tupolev in the former country and to commercial considerations in both countries whose airlines preferred to concentrate on short and medium range routes, that was equal to the low demand for the long-haul service.

East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Cuba were amongst the largest foreign customers for the Il-62. The former East German airline Interflug owned 24 aircraft: 21 in civilian service and three for airforce and presidential use (later transferred to the united German airforce), including six Il-62s, 16 Il-62Ms and two rare Il-62MKs (after unification, seven Interflug IL-62s were on-sold to Uzbekistan which later also bought the three airforce examples). Czech Airlines (formerly Czechoslovak Airlines) operated 21 planes between 1969 and 1997, including 15 Il-62s and six Il-62Ms, of which 15 were registered under the famous CSA \’OK jet\’ designation, and six were leased from Aeroflot. Some of these planes were still operational in 2012. Cuba operated 27 different Il-62s, of which 12 were leased either from Aeroflot or Tarom (which operated three Il-62s and two Il-62Ms alongside its Boeing 707s) and 15 were owned by Cubana which became a long-term operator with its first Il-62M purchase in 1977. After 2000, Cubana refurbished its remaining planes for international routes, on which they operated until March 2011. Poland operated 23 Il-62s and Il-62Ms, including aircraft leased from Aeroflot and Tarom. The largest non-state operator of the Il-62 was Russian-based Domodedovo Airlines which acquired 45 planes from Aeroflot (42 Il-62Ms and 3 Il-62s) that were used for domestic services including continuous operations on the world\’s longest internal route, Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a distance of 6,800 kilometres (4,200 mi).

From 1970, Air France and Japan Air Lines wet-leased a number of Aeroflot Il-62s for long-haul services, and from 1971, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated nine Aeroflot-registered Il-62s for the Moscow-Amsterdam route (these planes wore joint Aeroflot/KLM markings).

Due to strained relations between the Soviet Union and the US during the 1980s, in 1984 Aeroflot coordinated with Irish carrier Aer Lingus to use Shannon airport as a hub for connecting flights from Moscow and Leningrad to link with the Irish carrier\’s New York routes. Aeroflot was also granted rights to use Shannon for flights to Cuba and South America (Peru). From 1992 Irish tour operators contracted Aeroflot to carry tourists to the eastern US (Miami) and later to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, using Il-62Ms. On any given day, Shannon hosted up to eight Il-62s and Il-86s (in addition to Tu-154s and Tu-134s). By 1995/1996, Shannon was handling 2,400 Aeroflot transit flights carrying 250,000 passengers per annum (including government-registered Il-62Ms) with Aeroflot crews being housed near Shannon airport. By 1995, direct flights between Moscow and the US became possible and the use of Shannon as a hub declined. For its US west-coast air links (which began in 1991) Aeroflot Il-62s flew east to Anchorage from Moscow and several cities in the Russian Far East (Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Magadan, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), often continuing on to San Francisco. Trans-Pacific Il-62 flights between the Russian Far East and Anchorage continued until 2000.

Il-62M/MKs remained popular for civilian service in Russia up until the economic recession of 2008. In late 2008, Russian-operated planes were removed from scheduled passenger operations due to a severe economic crisis affecting major operators Interavia Airlines, Dalavia and Domodedovo Airlines. As a result, Rossiya became the largest operator, but it uses the Il-62 for government service only. By September 2009 a total of 38 Il-62s (all versions) remained in service worldwide (compared with 88 planes in service in 2006), only one of which was the original series aircraft operating with Russian Air Force whilst others were M or MK-series aircraft. In 2011 Cubana retired its last civilian examples 33 years after receiving its first IL-62. Some other airlines and governments also operate small numbers of the type. In 2013 DETA Air ceased operations of Il-62M.

Former operators

TAAG Angola Airlines
 Central African Republic
 People\’s Republic of China
CAAC Airlines
ČSA Czechoslovak Airlines
Government of Czechoslovakia
 East Germany
Air France (lessee)
New Millenium Air
Air Zena
Guyana Airways (the sole South American operator)
Malév Hungarian Airlines (Leased from CSA Czechoslovak Airlines just for two months for few flights between Hungary and Japan)
Air India (lessee)
Aria Air
Japan Airlines (used with Aeroflot)
Air Kazakhstan
Air Kokshetau (Part of Air Kazakhstan Group)
Air Trust
Kazakhstan Airlines
Libyan Arab Airlines
KLM (lessee)
LOT Polish Airlines
 Russia/ Soviet Union
Domodedovo Airlines
Interavia Airlines
Mavial Magadan Airlines
Russian Sky Airlines
SAT Airlines
VIM Airlines
Uzbekistan Airways
Air Ukraine
Ukraine Air Enterprise
Pride African International

Government/military operators

The aircraft has seen military use with the air force of East Germany (DDR ) and later the united Germany (one Il-62MK and two Il-62Ms) and is believed to have been operated by the air forces of other countries including Cuba, Gambia, Georgia, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Romania and Ukraine. It is used as an emergency response aircraft by the Russian government (RA-86570 and RA-86495). In addition to military use, it has been used as a personnel or head-of-state transport by Russia (at least eight examples), Ukraine, East Germany, Georgia (2748552), Uzbekistan (UK-86569), Gambia (C5-RTG), Mozambique, Sudan (ST-PRA), Cuba, North Korea, and Czechoslovakia, the government of which used an Il-62 (OK-BYV) and three Il-62Ms between 1974 and 1996. Some head-of-state examples were produced in VIP interior configuration whilst others were standard civilian versions.

In North Korea, two IL-62Ms (operated by Air Koryo) are owned by the North Korean government. Both of which have government liveries and VIP interior configurations and are given the call sign \”Chammae\” (national bird of North Korea). One is coded as \”Chammae-1\” which transports Kim Jong Un while the other, Chammae-2, provides transport to high level government officials and VIPs. Chammae-2 was seen transporting officials of the high-level DPRK delegation including Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong to Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Both aircraft are part of Air Koryo\’s inventory of four IL-62Ms.

Current operators

Ilyushin Il-62M of the Government of North Korea
Ilyushin Il-62M operated by the Sudanese government
 North Korea
Government of North Korea – Currently owns 2 IL-62Ms (operated by Air Koryo)
Russian Aerospace Forces

Former operators

Cuban Air Force – Former
Military of Gambia
 East Germany
Air Forces of the National People\’s Army – Former
German Air Force – Former
Military of Mozambique – Former
Romanian Air Force – Former
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Force – Former
Government of Sudan – ST-PRA destroyed during the Battle of Khartoum (2023).

Incidents and accidents

Since its first flight in 1963 there have been 12 fatal accidents during civilian service, namely: nine crashes, two landing overruns and an aborted takeoff (fatalities of the last three resulted from collisions with structures near the runway). The complete list of incidents include eight of Il-62M (a total of 25 incidents/accidents in ASN database, 14 of which were Il-62M, including 24 April 1998 and 20 April 2008).

As of July 2012 there had been 23 hull losses from all causes including prototype testing, fires, runway overruns, navigational errors, and non-operational incidents, 48% of which did not involve fatalities, with 1,141 fatalities total. This figure and the list below includes planes that were still operable but were deemed uneconomic to return to service due to their age and/or flight hours (YR-IRD and CU-T1283).

Within the group of comparable airliners (Il-62/Il-62M, VC10/Super VC10, Boeing 707, DC8) the Il-62M had the second highest hull loss rate (25) after the DC-8.
There were three fatal accidents involving an Il-62 between 1989 and 2009 the most recent one Jul 2009, overall there are thirteen fatal accidents involving a Il-62.

Date Tail number Location
CAAC Airlines Il-62 at China Aviation Museum, Beijing

As the first long-range jet airliner to be put into service by a number of nations, some retired Il-62s have been converted into museums and other uses in countries such as the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Cuba and China.

The best known example is the Il-62 \”DDR-SEG\” from the former East German airline Interflug. On 23 October 1989, DDR-SEG was intentionally landed on the 860 metres (2,820 ft) short grass Stolln/Rhinow airfield by Interflug\’s chief IL-62 pilot Heinz-Dieter Kallbach [de] in a famous but potentially dangerous manoeuvre. Fire trucks and ambulance crews were positioned on hand for the landing but were not needed. The jet is used to commemorate the site of the fatal crash of Otto Lilienthal (1848–1896) at the Gollenberg hill. Nicknamed Lady Agnes after Lilienthal\’s wife, it is now a museum with the fuselage divided between the Lilienthal collection and a wedding registry.

Previously, in July 1983, another landing of an IL-62 on unimproved ground took place at Monino, Russia, when Ilyushin OKB Chief Test Pilot Stanislav Bliznyuk delivered CCCP-86670 to the Monino outdoor Air Force Museum.

Specifications (Il-62M)

Side view.

Data from Jane\’s All The World\’s Aircraft 1988–89

General characteristics

Crew: 5; 3 to 5 (a captain, a first officer, and a flight engineer, plus optionally a navigator and a radio officer on long overwater and/or VIP services to operator specification) plus a four to eight-person cabin crew to operator specifications
Capacity: 168–186 passengers
Length: 53.12 m (174 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 43.20 m (141 ft 9 in)
Height: 12.35 m (40 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 279.55 m2 (3,009.1 sq ft)
Empty weight: 71,600 kg (157,851 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 165,000 kg (363,763 lb)
Fuel capacity: 105,300 L (27,800 US gal; 23,200 imp gal) 84,240 kg 185,715 lb
Powerplant: 4 × Soloviev D-30KU turbofan engines, 107.9 kN (24,300 lbf) thrust each


Cruise speed: 900 km/h (560 mph, 490 kn)
Range: 10,000 km (6,200 mi, 5,400 nmi) with 10,000 kg (22,046 lb) payload
Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,000 ft) maximum cruising height
Rate of climb: 18 m/s (3,500 ft/min)


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