It is a week of firsts for Russian civil aviation. On Tuesday, Russia’s medium-range 737 MAX competitor, the MC-21, took off for the first time with domestically manufactured engines PD-14. Today, Wednesday, December 16th, the new regional turboprop aircraft Il-114-300 performed its maiden flight.
The flight took off from the Zhukovsky airfield aircraft test base 40 km southeast of Moscow and was operated by the aircraft with test registration 54114. Onboard were two pilots and one engineer. The crew checked power plant operation modes, aircraft stability, controllability, and the plane’s systems’ operation.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Adapted for harsh conditions
Manufactured by Ilyushin, а subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation, the Il-114-300 is a short-range turboprop passenger aircraft. It is intended for local airlines and to serve a market where connectivity is generally poor due to weak airport infrastructure and challenging climate conditions. Particularly, UAC means for it to ensure air mobility for populations in Russia’s more remote regions.
“Today the Il-114-300 turboprop made its maiden flight – it is another aircraft in the passenger line, which our aircraft manufacturers will offer to carriers in the near future. The new aircraft is especially relevant for our country: it is compatible with different levels of airfield equipment, it is adapted to operate in the harsh conditions of the North, Siberia, the Far East,” said the Director of state corporation Rostec, Sergei Chemesov, in a statement shared with Simple Flying.
Mr Chemesov further stated that UAC hopes the turboprop aircraft will gain certification in 2022. If this is successful, serial deliveries will commence in 2023.
Building on Soviet heritage
The plane is a new version of the Il-114 that was first built during Soviet times and took its maiden flight in March 1990. The recent addition to Ilyushin’s repertoire has a maximum passenger capacity of 68. Its maximum payload is 6.8 tons, and the flight range with maximum weight is 1,400km. Meanwhile, if unburdened, it could go up for up to 5,000km.
The turboprop has a cruise speed of 500 km/h and a flight altitude of 7,600 meters. It is equipped with TV7-117SM engines. These are domestically manufactured by Klimov; a company founded 108 years ago in Saint Petersburg as the Kirill Klimov Experimental Design Bureau.
Who will fly it?
Its predecessor, the Il-114, was only ever built in 20 specimens and was only operated commercially by Vyborg and Uzbekistan Airlines. Let us hope the Il-114-300 will fare much better.
Thus far, Siberian operator Polar Airlines from Yakutsk has provisionally signed to take three of the aircraft. Another Siberian carrier that has expressed interest is KrasAvia, based in Krasnoyarsk.
There is no shortage of smaller regional airlines in Russia that could become potential customers for the new Ilyushin turboprop. There are no less than 20 average-sized regional operators in the same category as Polar and KrasAvia, and close to 60 minor carriers, quite a few of which could potentially look to operate a 68-seater.
How do you think the new Russian regional turboprop will fare on the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.