1 IL Planes 120 Anniversary: a Peek into IL Labs

IL Planes 120 Anniversary: a Peek into IL Labs

Posted on April 4, 2014 by tim

The 120th anniversary of the famous Russian airplane creator, Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin, was celebrated in the House of Scientists yesterday. Here are some photos of the testing department of “IL” airplanes.

The creation of any aircraft is a long and complicated process. It includes a lot of tests, including tests for structural strength. During static and fatigue tests, the calculated limits and working loads are confirmed experimentally. Tests confirm the accuracy of the design process under the specified load, and the question of the accuracy of the load is answered by using flight strength tests.


There are two independent disciplines of strength calculations. The first is a calculation of strength and the second is a static calculation of the resource.

The wing, as the most vital part of the aircraft structure, is tested with calculated loads up to 120%. The fuselage has tests on 100% load.

This IL-76TD (RA-76751) was born in 1988, it was at first used by “Aeroflot” where it logged 2500 flying hours. In 1994 it was decided to make it a testbed for the new PS-90 engines, but the engines were not installed. A special program was developed instead.

The IL-76 was originally designed for 20,000 flights. However, in order to provide it with such characteristics, it was necessary to pass all the strength tests, and then the endurance tests, and now tests are continuing to determine any extension to the length of service.

This laboratory is for such tests. The airplane is suspended by strong beams on special hangers, which include hydraulic cylinders capable of putting tens of tons of load on a structural element. Such loads are distributed evenly throughout the structural elements by using additional beams and brackets.

To determine the longevity of the plane, they take into account an average flight of 3-4 hours and a service life of 20-25 years. These values ​​are used as initial values. Later, to increase longevity, they conduct additional tests that can last for years.

Usually program flights last for 20 minutes and are performed with a full load on the structural elements of the wing and fuselage. Under the program, they need to perform 20,000 such flights.

If damage occurs, the test will be stopped, and the damaged part will be repaired. After this, the testing process is resumed. Structural damage of the individual elements is identified in various ways, both visually and with instruments which are able to find even the smallest cracks.

In order to extended the service life, restrictions are imposed on the operation of the aircraft. For example, they can limit flights due to weather conditions, or convert from passenger flights to cargo transportation. (“You will wear the helmet from that moment” – the picture says)


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One Response to “IL Planes 120 Anniversary: a Peek into IL Labs”

  1. Dan says:

    This bureau designed some great airplanes.

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