An Epic Flight – Flying the Soviet Transporter IL-76 to Iraq

This week, I flew on SilkWay Ilyushin IL-76 transporter from Baku to Erbil, Iraq. The flight was completely different from the Western conventional airplane. It took a strong team of 5 men to operate including 2 pilots, a. flight engineer, a radio controller and a navigator. The flight also carries a loadmaster and 2 technicians.

Before takeoff, the captain and loadmaster briefly introduced the cockpit and the cargo cabin. Inside the cabin, it has a crane system and ramp system able to lower to load without infrastructure. This particular IL-76TD-90 has new stage 4 noise compliant engines (Perm PS90 engines) instead of the older and noisier Soloviev D-30 engines.

Our flight took 2.5 hours from Baku to Erbil. After dropping off the cargo, we flew back to Baku empty. The view from the navigator seat through the glass nose was amazing. 

The Ilyushin Il-76 is a multi-purpose, fixed-wing, four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union's Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967. For more information, visit: