With Boeing in our backyard, unusual aircraft are not an uncommon sight at any of metro Seattle’s airports. Antonov An-124s are regular visitors, usually delivering engines to Boeing’s Everett factory. I was recently at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) when a rare bird was there to pick up some cargo.
This particular Ilyushin-76-TD-90-VD is owned by Russia-based Volga-Dnepr Airlines, which operates five of these aircraft. Part of the Volga-Dnepr group, the parent company also owns Airbridge Cargo Airlines and Atran Airlines.
The aircraft has a load capacity of 50 tons and a maximum take-off weight of 195 tons — for comparison, the U.S. Air Force’s C-17 has a load capacity of 85 tons.
That unusual glazed nose contains the navigator’s station, which must provide a pretty incredible view while in flight. While classed as a civilian cargo jet, there are versions of the type in service with militaries around the world, including Russia, Ukraine, and India.