Blog by a Belgian Flying Photographer based in Dubai (UAE) specializing in Architectural, Travel and Aviation photography
Friday, May 7, 2010
Pic(k) of the week 18: Russian workhorse
Driving up North from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah along the coastal road, you'll pass the small general aviation airport of Umm Al Quwain (OMUQ). A Russian built Iluyshin IL-76 TD sits outside the main building and is used as an advertising aid for the Palm Beach Hotel next door. A Russian workhorse as a huge billboard!
The Soviet built passenger and cargo aircraft (Serial number 053403072), was built and delivered to the Soviet air force some time around 1982, registered as CCCP-86715. After the Soviet Union fell apart, the Russian air force retained the jet and reregistered it RA-86715. It continued to fly for the Russian air force until the early 90’s, when it was sold to Sharjah-based Air Cess and subsequently reregistered EL-RDT. Air Cess, in turn, sold the plane to AirPass in Swaziland and the plane was reregistered 3D-RTT until they, in turn, sold the plane to Centrafrican Airlines in the Central African Republic who re-registered the plane for the last time; TL-ACN. The Il-76 is known as a Russian workhorse and a lot of other examples still fly in the UAE skies on a daily basis.
How did the aircraft get to its final resting place?
A story goes around that in 1999 the plane mistakenly landed in Umm al Quwain instead of landing at the Sharjah airport which is 20km away. The aircraft was never flown out of OMUQ airport again and was sold to the Palm Beach hotel as scrap...
Even though aircraft have landed at the wrong airports before, the more plausible story is that the aircraft made its last flight voluntary to Umm Al Quwain to be scraped after that.
When looking at it now, it’s hard to believe this was a fully airworthy aircraft just 11 years ago. The plane was subsequently deregistered and over the years stripped of any element worth more than 2 dirham. The scorching sun and sand did the rest. There are some vague plans to convert the plane into a restaurant, but so far, nothing serious has materialized yet.
Nikon D700, 24-70 Nikkor lens
3 Shot HDR, +2,0,-2EV
ISO200, 27mm, f 8
Tonemapped with Photomatix
Tonal contrast adjusted with Color Efex
More images of the Russian workhorse in Umm Al Quwain can be found here
Last but not least, I've recently opened a Bjorn Moerman PHOTOGRAPHY Facebook page. Feel free to subscribe here if interested.