Russia’s Il-76 Makes 1st Landing on Antarctic Ice Airfield

  • Bureau
  • 06:23 AM, November 16, 2022
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Russia’s Il-76 Makes 1st Landing on Antarctic Ice Airfield
Il-76TD-90VD aircraft @Rostec

Russia’s Ilyushin Il-76TD-90VD aircraft touched down on the ice airfield Novolazarevskaya outpost in Antarctica for the first time, after coving a distance of 5,300km in 6.5 hours.

82 passengers were delivered to Antarctica, including specialists from the Zapsibgazprom company, who ensure the construction of a new wintering complex at Vostok station, and members of the 68th Russian Antarctic Expedition. Also, 6.6 tons of cargo was transported on board the aircraft to ensure work on the creation of a wintering complex, Rostec said in a release.

The use of the Il-76TD-90VD aircraft made it possible to increase the safety of flights to Antarctica from the mainland. On previous models of aircraft, the decision whether to continue the flight or return to the departure airfield in the absence of alternate airfields and unstable Antarctic weather had to be made directly over the ocean.

The commander of the Il-76TD crew, in the event of an unexpected deterioration in the weather at the airfield in Antarctica, faced a difficult choice: to return or, at the risk, fly to the airfield and land in any case, even if the runway was closed by bad weather.

The commander of the Il-76TD-90VD can decide to return or land directly over the airfield in Antarctica due to the increased flight range compared to the Il-76TD.

The runway at the Progress station was launched in 2012, and only small aircraft could land on it. Now the airfield can also receive heavy "seventy-sixths". This season, four flights Cape Town - Progress - Cape Town are planned for the delivery of NPC Vostok builders.

“This is a truly historic event that will largely change the work of the entire Russian Antarctic Expedition. The new runway will allow us to start seasonal work much earlier, including the creation of a new wintering complex for Vostok station,” said Alexander Makarov, director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

The airfield of the Progress station is already the sixth in Antarctica, where Il-76 aircraft fly.

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