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Another Ilyushin Il-62 has returned to the sky ahead of entering service as a freighter.

Former Manas Airways and Orient Avia aircraft RA-86126 (cn 4154535) which has been stored at Kazan Airport in Russia for a few years made its first test flight on Nov 17 ahead of joining Belarusian cargo charter operator Rada Airlines.

The plane is expected to receive the registration EW-505TR and will join the EW-450TR which at present is the only Il-62 aircraft in active service.

Il-62 is a Soviet long-range narrow-body jetliner conceived in 1960 by Ilyushin. As the successor to the popular turboprop Il-18 and with a capacity for almost 200 passengers and crew, the Il-62 was the world's largest jet airliner when first flown in 1963. One of four pioneering long-range designs (the others being Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, and Vickers VC10), it was the first such type to be operated by the Soviet Union and a number of allied nations.

The Il-62 entered Aeroflot civilian service on 15 September 1967 with an inaugural passenger flight from Moscow to Montreal and remained the standard long-range airliner for the Soviet Union (and later, Russia) for several decades. It was the first Soviet pressurized aircraft with non-circular cross-section fuselage and ergonomic passenger doors, and the first Soviet jet with six-abreast seating (the turboprop Tu-114 shared this arrangement) and international-standard position lights.

Over 30 nations operated the Il-62 with over 80 examples exported and others having been leased by Soviet-sphere and several Western airlines. The Il-62M variant became the longest-serving model in its airliner class (average age of examples in service as of 2016 is over 32 years). Special VIP (salon) and other conversions were also developed and used as head-of-state transport by some 14 countries. However, because it is expensive to operate compared to newer generation airliners, the number in service was greatly reduced after the 2008 Great Recession. The Il-62's successors include the wide-bodied Il-86 and Il-96, both of which were made in much smaller numbers and neither of which was widely exported.

Rossiya Il-62 at Munich Airport

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