The Ilyushin Il-62 is a four-engined long-range narrowbody jet airliner, seating 168-186 passengers. Ilyushin developed the aircraft during the 1960s and it looks very much like the VC-10, built by the British aircraft manufacturer Vickers in the same period. NATO baptised the aircraft with the reporting name 'Classic'.
The development of the Il-62 started in 1960 and the prototype Il-62 was first publicly shown in September 1962. At that moment the Kuznetsov turbofan engines chosen for the aircraft were not available yet. Therefore the first flight on 3 January 1963 was made with temporary, much lighter Lyulka AL7 turbojets. At the time of the first flight, the Il-62 was the world's largest jet airliner. It was intended as a replacement for long-haul airliners like the Ilyushin Il-18 and the Tupolev Tu-114 turboprops. The Il-62 entered service on 15 September 1967 with Aeroflot on a flight from Moscow to Montreal.
The four engines are placed in pairs at the end of the fuselage, under a big T-tail. Advantages of this configuration are a 'clean' wing with good aerodynamic characteristics and reduced noise in the passenger cabin. A drawback are the necessary stronger and heavier structures of the wing and tail sections. Thrust reversers are installed on the two outer engines only.
The Il-62 has a conventional ten-wheel landing gear, but also a small additional strut at the rear of the fuselage which extends after the aircraft is being parked to prevent it from tipping up on its tail when it is empty during handling. The cabin offers six-abreast seating in economy class, like in the Boeing 707, DC-8 and VC-10. The cockpit has a crew of five.
An improved version is the Il-62M, which first flew in 1971 with more powerful and quieter Soloviev D-30KU engines and a fuel tank in its fin. It also has a simpler and lighter flap system than the basic aircraft and improved aerodynamic characteristics. So-called 'spoilerons' are mounted on the wing, acting as air brakes but also as ailerons during flight. A further development is the Il-62MK, intended for medium-range flights, but only a few of this version were produced. Ilyushin considered a stretched version, but didn't build it.
Production continued until the mid-1990s. Around 290 aircraft have been built. The most popular version was the Il-62M with 193 produced. In 2018 only a handful of Il-62s are still in airline service. Several more Il-62s are in use as VIP and government aircraft. One example was developed as airborne command center.
Ilyushin Il-62M Specifications
Wingspan: 43.20 m (141 ft 9 in). Length: 53.12 m (174 ft 3 in). Height: 12.35 m (40 ft 6 in).
Empty weight: 71,600 kg (157,848 lb). Max. takeoff weight: 165,000 kg (363,760 lb). Capacity: 168-186 passengers. Range: 10,000 km (5,400 nm). Max. cruise speed: 900 km/h (486 kts).
Engines: four Soloviev D-30KU turbofans (107.9 kN - 24,250 lb).