Sergei V. Ilyushin, the Russian aviation pioneer who learned to fly in the biplane era and designed the jet that opened the Soviet Union's Moscow-to-New York passenger service, has died at the age of 82.
No cause of death was listed in the announcement issued yesterday in Moscow by Tass, the Soviet news agency.
Mr. Ilyushin name is as prominent as a designation for passenger planes names of such firms as Boeing, Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas for planes made here.
It was the IL (for Ilyushin)-62 that in July, 1968, inaugurated the Moscow-to-New York service of the Soviet airline, Aeroflot.
The design bureau - as it is called - headed by Mr. Ilyushin also produced the IL-86, a wide-bodied transport that is in the "airbus" mold.
On the fuselage, beneath the Aeroflot emblem, these and other Soviet passenger transports carry the first two letters of Mr. Ilyushin's name - in the Cyrillic alphabet - followed by the model number.
In all Mr. Ilyushin was credited with taking part in the development of more than 50 airplanes, among them the celebrated World War II attack plane called by the Soviets the IL-2 or Stormvik.
This heavily armored, single-engine propeller-driven craft was regarded as one of the first designs to show the effectiveness in warfare of small, fast-strike planes operating at near ground level. As such it was said to be significant in the developement of air-support tactics.
A two-seat craft that carried a rear gunner behind the pilot, the IL-2, which went into service in 1939, flew at up to 280 m.p.h., and could be fitted with cannon, bombs or rockets.
It was reputedly the first close support plane to fire rockets to any great degree. A tribute to its effectiveness was the name given it by the German forces - "the flying death."
In Moscow, Tass described Mr. II-yushin's life as "the reflection of the history of Soviet aviation."
Mr. Ilyushin was born in 1894 in Didyalevo, in what was known then as the Vologda province, and is near the Vologda oblast.
In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, he was mobilized in the czarist army. One of his first assignments was as a worker in an airplane hangar. He went on to become a mechanic, and in 1917, he graduated from flying school.
Shortly after the Russian Revolution, Mr. Ilyushin entered the Red Army, in which he eventually rose to become a lieutenant general.
In 1926, he graduated from the Zhukovsky air force engineering academy, where he later became a professor. While a student, he designed and built three gliders.
After graduation, he became an air force official in charge of airplane construction, and served as assistant chief of the air force's test institute.
In the years after 1931, he devoted himself exclusively to aircraft design. A twin-engine plane for which he was credited in the 1930s set several aviation records, including one for a nonstop flight between Moscow and New Brunswick, Canada. The plane served as a model for a bomber used in World War II.
After the war and before the introduction of his pure-jet IL-62, Mr. Ilyushin was represented by turboprop transports, including the 11-18, a four-engine craft first used by Aeroflot in 1959.
The IL-18 also was supplied to at least a dozen foreign airlnes in Europe. Africa, Asia and Cuba.
Another transport, the 11-76, is a high-wing, four-jet freighter, with clamshell loading doors in the rear. At one time evidence was reported that the 11-76 was to be evaluated as a flight refueling tanker for the much-discussed Soviet "Backfire" bomber.
Mr. Ilyushin received many honors. He was named at least twice as a Hero of Soviet Labor and also received the Stalin Labor and also received the Stalin Prize (later known as the state prize) and the Order of Lenin.
A son, Vladimir Sergeevich Ilyushin, 49, is a test pilot and aircraft engineer.