The Ilyushin Il-62 (Ильюшин Ил-62, NATO code name "Classic") was the first long-range jet transport built in Russia, borrowing heavily from the four-rear-engine design of the British Vickers VC-10. Even today, it remains the most successful Eastern bloc attempt at an intercontinental airliner.

Its first flight was in January of 1963. Aeroflot became the first airline to operate the Il-62, putting it into service between Moscow and Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, and Tashkent in 1968. The original Il-62's, however, were very inefficient in comparison to comparable Western aircraft like the Boeing 707. Ilyushin announced an upgrade, the Il-62M, in 1970, which used newer engines, avionics, and thrust reversers. The model remained in production until 1993, and flew for a wide variety of airlines, including Air-India, CSA, Interflug, LOT, and Tarom.

Il-62's are interesting beasts. They carry a five-man flight crew: back during Soviet days, Aeroflot would send a mechanic out on board each Il-62 flight, so that Western technicians would never have to touch the plane. You can tell an Il-62 from a VC-10 by the bullet-shaped pylon at the top of its tail, or, more often, by the Cyrillic letters on the side.

Aeroflot, Cubana, Air Koryo, Domodedovo Airlines, Khabarovsk Air, and other airlines in the former Soviet bloc continue to operate Il-62's. Several CIS governments and North Korea use the type as a VIP transport.

           Il-62 (1963)                   Il-62M (1970)
Wingspan:  141'9" (43,2 m)                141'9" (43,2 m)
Length:    174'4" (53,1 m)                174'4" (53,1 m)
Height:    40'6" (12,4 m)                 40'6"  (12,4 m)
Ceiling:   39,000' (1,3 km)               39,000' (1,3 km)
Range:     4,190 mi (6.700 km)            5,000 mi (8.000 km)
Empty:     146,400 lb (66.400 kg)         156,200 lb (71.000 kg)
Loaded:    356,400 lb (162.000 kg)        363,000 lb (165.000 kg)
Engines:   Four Kuznetsov NK-8            Four Soloviev D-30KU
Speed:     580 mph (933 kph, Mach 0.68)   595 mph (950 kph, Mach 0.69)
Capacity:  186 passengers in all-coach    198 passengers in all-coach