Sharjah is an ideal setting for these beautiful propliners. Hearing the 4-engined Ilyushin 18 rumbling along the taxiway, with their load of passengers or cargo, is something to remember.
This type of aircraft was first delivered to Aeroflot in 1959. Some 500+ were manufactured (production ended in 1967) and found their way to many East European operators as well as countries that had friendly relations with the Soviet (later the CIS) regime: Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam and various African countries.
Photos © Ruud Leeuw
Il-18V 3C-KKR operates for Damal Airlines on behalf of Air Cess (cn185008603). There are rumors about this company, see the link below this page, but first have a look at these photos... This shot gives a good impression of the 4-bladed Ivchenko AI-20M turboprops, they propel the Il-18 (NATO code named "Coot") through the air with a 388 mph/h (625 km/h) max. cruising speed.
Often the hard part is to identify these airframes, owned and operatedby obscure companies to destinies in countries with strange names.... 3C-KKR should be registrated in Equatorial Guinea and this company operates deep into Africa. The max. payload is some 13.500 kgs, but the article about Air Cess (see link below) mentions something about diamonds: I don't think they needed a max.payload there to make a profit !
IL-18 ER-ICM took a while to identify; it is c/n 182004804, operated by Star Airline and leased from Santa Cruz Imperial Airlines. It held the following previous identities: EX-7504, EL-ADY, 3D-ALQ, YR-IMD. The ER- prefix refers to Moldova.
Ilyushin Il-18D EX-75466 (cn187010403) is operated by Phoenix Airlines. They have a nice colour scheme. The prefix EX- refers to Kyrgyzstan.
Il-18V RA-75811 of Elf Air (cn182004504) was a pleasant surprise, arriving at the end of the day. This colorscheme still dates back to Aeroflot days and nothing much has been done about it. During 2003 Elf Air was renamed Grizobudovoy
There is more to Air Cess and much more its owner Victor Bout......; read this: Victor Bout dossier
Antonov 8s and 12s at Sharjah, april 2000.
DC-3 page 1
The C-46 Curtiss Commando
A word of warning though, by Alex Waning (Feb.2004): "Sharjah airport offers on the Internet the possibility to film and photograph on airside. You can fill out filming equipment, but you will not get a filming permit! Filming is not allowed anymore at Sharjah! Not a good improvement!".