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Russia's Il-76 cargo aircraft makes first landing on Antarctic ice airfield

The plane landed at the ice airfield of Russia’s Novolazarevskaya station in Antarctica

MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. The Ilyushin Il-76TD-90VD plane has for the first time landed on the ice airfield of Russia’s Novolazarevskaya station in Antarctica, the press service of the JSC Ilyushin Aviation Complex (part of the United Aircraft Corporation - UAC) reported on Monday.

"The Il-76 type plane, equipped with the PS-90A-76 engines has for the first time landed on ice. The conducted tests will make it possible to complement the flight manual for aircraft equipped with this engine type with the clauses regarding the possibility of landing on snow-covered ice airfields," the statement says.

According to the press service, the landing was performed by a joint crew under the command of chief pilot of the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Nikolai Kuimov and chief pilot of the State Research Institute of Civil Aviation Ruben Yesayan.

The Ilyushin II-76 (Candid) is a landmark Soviet-era design. Russia's first four-jet heavy transport, it was conceived and used to fly strategic military cargoes into front-line air bases in the most extreme operational conditions. The II-76 prototype made its first flight in 1971. It was intended as a replacement for the An-12. Production commenced in 1974. The basic II-76 (NATO reporting name Candid-A) transport was built purely for military service. It saw extensive service during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Over 800 of these cargo aircraft were built, as well as a number of specialised versions. The Il-76 is currently in service with Russia, Algeria, Belarus, China, Cuba, India, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Ukraine.

The Il-76TD-90VD long-range freighter is a heavily upgraded version of the Il-76TD transport plane. The aircraft was built at the Tashkent-based Chkalov Aircraft Production Association. The plane’s maiden flight took place in August 2005. A total of five Ilyushin Il-76TD-90VD planes have been built on the order of Volga-Dnepr air carrier.