Russian planemaker United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced Tuesday that a prototype Ilyushin Il-112V transport turboprop aircraft carrying 3 crew members crew aboard crashed during a test flight in the Moscow region.
“During a training flight during the landing approach in the area of the Kubinka airfield in a forest belt, an IL-112V light military transport aircraft crashed. Details of the incident are being specified. To find out the causes of the accident, an appropriate commission will be created,” UAC said in a statement.
UAC later confirmed that two pilots and a flight engineer- all highly experienced in flight testing- perished on the crash. "The IL PJSC team has lost professionals in their field, the most experienced and courageous testers of aviation technology, who were entrusted with the most important and responsible projects not only for the Ilyushin Aviation Complex, but also for the entire aviation industry."
Internal commission to investigate accident
The plane was piloted by a crew consisting of chief pilot of PJSC "IL", test pilot 1st class Hero of Russia Nikolai Kuimov, test pilot 1st class Dmitry Komarov, flight test engineer 1st class Nikolai Khludeev.
An internal commission is being created with the involvement of specialists from aircraft research institutes and factories to investigate the causes of the accident of the Il-112V aircraft, which crashed today during a training flight in Kubinka near Moscow, Rostec which is the holding company of UAC said.
The Ilyushin Il-112V is being developed as a replacement for the Antonov An-26. The Il-112V light military transport aircraft is the first new tactical transport aircraft designed since the Soviet era. It is designed for the transportation and airborne landing of light weapons and military equipment, cargo with a total weight of up to 5 tons. The aircraft had completed a test cycle of a wind tunnel model in September of 2020.
Right engine catches fire
According to videos on social media, the right engine appears to have caught fire before the crash of the prototype Il-112V after which the aircraft began to roll to the right, entered a steep dive and crashed in the forest.
The prototype of the new Il-112V light military transport aircraft had flown in on August 13 to the Moscow region to for display at the Army-2021 forum.
"The first sample of the new Il-112V light military transport aircraft on August 13 flew from the airfield of the Voronezh Aviation Plant (VASO, part of the UAC transport division of the Rostec state corporation) to the IL-PJSC base in Zhukovsky near Moscow to prepare for participation in the Army-2021 forum,” press service of the UAC said.
The Army-2021 participation was intended to showcase the Il-112V to the world as a replacement for the An-26 besides as a low cost alternative to Western military transport aircraft.
Prototype aircraft heavier by two tons
The first flight of the Il-112V prototype took place on March 30, 2019, but at that time the aircraft did not meet the requirements of the Russian Ministry of Defense in terms of carrying capacity, therefore it required revision. In October 2020, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov said that the weight of the Il-112V should be reduced by about 2 tons.
Flight tests of the Il-112V resumed only two years later - on March 30, 2021. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, said on July 5, said that the new light transport aircraft did not yet meet the technical specifications of the Russian MoD. “For the last three years we have been fighting (technical issues) of the Il-112. The situation is moving for the better,” Borisov said.