Russia’s New Il-96-400M Stretch Takes Its 1st Flight

The IL-96-400M, a long-range widebody passenger aircraft manufactured by UAC, has successfully completed its maiden flight. This marks a significant milestone in the history of Russian aviation, demonstrating the competence of Russian aircraft manufacturers.


The IL-96 project in Russia began in the 1980s, and despite facing commercial challenges, Russia continued to develop the IL-96-400 model with domestically produced electronic equipment and engines¹. Russia's development of the IL-96-400 model continued internally even as they sought cooperation with China for a joint widebody aircraft project, which they later withdrew from in 2023.


According to a report on the Russian government's official website on November 1st, the prototype of the long-range widebody passenger aircraft IL-96-400M has successfully completed its maiden flight. The plane is manufactured by Voronezh Aircraft Manufacturing Company, a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia. During the maiden flight, UAC checked the stability and controllability of the aircraft's various systems.

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The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) has verified that most systems and equipment were produced by the Rostec State Corporation. The captain who piloted the maiden flight was Sergei Sukhar, the Chief Pilot of Ilyushin Design Bureau and an Honored Test Pilot of the Russian Federation. The first flight reached an altitude of 2,000 meters, with a speed of up to 390 kilometers per hour, lasting for 26 minutes. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov commented on the first flight, "The first and successful flight of the modernized Il-96-400M demonstrates the highest level of competence of domestic aircraft manufacturers. The aircraft not only retained the high performance of the Il-96-300 but also received new operational and transportation capabilities." The IL-96 project in Russia was initiated in the 1980s, and the first model, the IL-96-300, entered commercial service in 1993. Even today, Russian President Putin's official aircraft continues to use the IL-96-300 aircraft. Due to the challenging commercial success of the IL-96-300, Russia later developed the IL-96M model, which incorporated a significant amount of aviation equipment produced by Western countries. However, after the forced discontinuation of the IL-96 model, Russia continued to develop the IL-96-400 model, which was equipped with domestically produced electronic equipment and engines.

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