On Tuesday, tragic reports have come in of a Russian military prototype turboprop crashing during a test flight. As seen on direct footage of the accident, the aircraft’s right engine appears to have caught on fire, causing the plane to dive straight into the ground, followed by an explosion. Reports suggest none of the crew have survived the crash.
Flames erupting from the engine
The aircraft, an Ilyushin Il-112V with registration 41400, was performing a test flight when it lost control and crashed into the trees close to Kubinka airbase, about 75 kilometers to the west of Moscow.
Footage circulating on social media shows how the right engine of the plane caught fire. Shortly after, the aircraft made a turn and then flipped over, pummeling to the ground nose-first. A large explosion followed with plumes of billowing smoke reaching tens of meters up into the air.
Fate of the crew unconfirmed
Three people were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash, including pilot Nikolai Kuimov, named Hero of Russia, the highest honorary title in the country. Early reports suggested that there were no survivors. However, a spokesperson for Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), part of Rostec, told RIA Novosti shortly after midday Tuesday that rescue efforts were still ongoing and that the fate of the crew was still unknown.
The Il-112V performed its first flight in March 2019. It only took off for the second time in April this year. The plane is designed as a transport vehicle that will carry and parachute light weaponry and equipment as well as military personnel.
Rostec intends for the plane to replace aging fleets of Antonov An-26s. The umbrella state corporation has confirmed Tuesday’ss accident to the Moscow Times, adding that the aircraft is still experimental. Rostec further stated it was assembling an internal commission to investigate the incident.
Same engines as passenger turboprop
Russia’s United Aircraft Company (UAC) and manufacturer Ilyushin also have their sights set on a new passenger propellor plane for the Russian regional market. The aircraft will be a modernized version of the Ilyushin Il-114, which has only been built in 20 copies.
The new model, the Il-114-300, is meant to offer a domestically made alternative to the likes of the Dash-8 and the ATR 72. And not a moment too soon, given the number of crashes of aging Soviet-era Antonov turboprops already on extended-life contracts with small regional carriers across the country.
The Il-112V is powered by a pair of Klimov TV7-117ST turboprop engines, entirely made up of Russian-made parts. It is the same engine type certified for the passenger Ilyushin Il-114 turboprop.