Aeroflot 62  decal placement

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The Ilyushin Il-62 (NATO reporting name “Classic”) is a Soviet long-range narrow-body jet airliner conceived in 1960 by the Ilyushin design bureau. The Il-62 was the world's largest jet airliner when first flown in 1963 (one year later than originally intended, and despite the “62” in its designation). It was one of four pioneering long-range jet airliner designs, along with the Boeing 707, DC-8, and VC10. It was the first such type to be operated by the Soviet Union and a number of allied nations. The Il-62 entered Aeroflot civilian service on 15 September 1967, and it remained the standard long-range airliner for the Soviet Union (and later, Russia) for several decades. It was the first Russian pressurised aircraft with non-circular cross-section fuselage and ergonomic passenger doors, and the first Russian jet with six-abreast seating and international-standard navigation lights.

Much has been erroneously written about the Il-62 being a “copy” of the VC10, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Other than their basic aerodynamic layout, the two share virtually nothing in common. The T-tail was in vogue in the east and the west at the time both were designed, and the engineering challenge of mounting four early generation turbofans on the tail was significantly less than mounting them on the wings, something that Soviet industry had almost no experience with in the early 1960s.

Over 30 nations operated the Il-62 with over 80 being exported and others leased by Russian-sphere and a few Western airlines. The Il-62M variant became the longest-serving model in its class with some examples having been in use for over three decades. Special VIP (salon) and other conversions were also developed and used as head-of-state transport by some 14 countries. Expensive to operate compared to new generation airliners, the number in service was greatly reduced after the 2008 recession. A small number remain in military and government service as of 2015.

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