A newly designed stretched Russian Ilyushin Il-96-400M jumbo jet has taken off for its maiden flight. Details about the first flight were announced by the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) on November 1, 2023.
According to news agency TASS, the aircraft reached 2,000 meters high, and the flight time was around 26 minutes.
“The Il-96-400M wide-body long-range airplane has completed its first flight,” the Russian government said. “Stability and controllability of the aircraft, operability of systems, the powerplant and landing approach radio equipment were tested during the flight.”
The aircraft is a modernized version of the Il-96-300, featuring a fuselage extended by 9.35 meters, increase powered PS-90A1 engines and can accommodate up to 370 passengers.
The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) confirmed that most of the systems and equipment were manufactured by Rostec State Corporation. Video of the Il-96-400M jumbo jet taking off for the first time was shared on social media. Crowds could be seen gathered to mark the occasion.
The Russian government will highly value the progress made by the aircraft after sanctions were imposed on the country after it invaded neighboring Ukraine in 2022.
Sanctions have made it impossible for Russian airlines to get replacement parts legally for aircraft made by Boeing and Airbus. In September 2023, Aeroflot and Rosatom signed a memorandum of cooperation that will see the companies produce their own replica Airbus and Boeing aircraft parts that can be used for planes in Russia.
In October 2023, the General Director and Technical Director of Aeroflot, Alexey Mikhalik, said that full production of the replica parts will begin in the first half of 2024.