Nose-to-nose with a Volga-Dnepr Il-76. The windows at the forward navigator’s station are a distinctive feature of the aircraft.

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.

A crane and flatbed trailer were used to load large crates of specialized welding equipment that was to be delivered to Australia

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.

While not quite as imposing in size as the An124, the Il76 is not a small aircraft.

While not quite as imposing in size as the Antonov 124, the Il-76 is not a small aircraft

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.

This diagram comparing the Il-76 to a variety of military and civilian cargo aircraft - Image: Volga-Dnepr

This diagram comparing the Il-76 to a variety of military and civilian cargo aircraft – Image: Volga-Dnepr

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.

There doesn't appear to be very much room left behind those clamshell doors.

There doesn’t appear to be very much room left behind those clamshell doors

A gratuitous puddle-reflection photo.

Because it rains a lot in Seattle this time of the year, here’s a gratuitous puddle-reflection photo

EDITOR-AT-LARGE - SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

http://www.zeraphoto.com
SOFIA 747SP Part 2: The Interior Tour and Flight
4 Comments
Malcolm Cumming

Interesting airplane. Is the IL-76 freighter built for landing at difficult airstrips – e.g. Siberia or Antarctica?

It is. If you’re curious about the design, the wikipedia entry for the plane has all sort of fun information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyushin_Il-76

When is it flying out? I might wanna go and watch it!

Sorry to say that it was here a couple weeks ago, and only stayed for about a day.

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