DALLAS — The “Palma Beach Hotel” advertisement is the first thing you’ll notice on this mysterious IL-76 that, for decades, has sat abandoned by the E11 expressway in Umm Al Quwain, UAE.
Those who drove by would have surely seen her rotting away with dust and sand. The aircraft brings major curiosity to those passing by; it’s even an attraction listed on Trip Advisor. Well, it seems like it’ll be no more of a landmark as the end has come for the dead too—the IL-76 is finally going to be scrapped; in fact, the process has already begun.
“The plane is being dismantled. The demolition began a few days ago,” a security guard near the site said last year via Khaleej Times. And yet, nobody knows how long it’ll take to strip her apart. Most of the aircraft’s components, including the engines, lie beside the plane.
The question is: when and why did this beast of an aircraft end up in a desert in the middle of nowhere? Numerous theories revolve around this particular aircraft. It’s believed that the IL-76 made its final landing here sometime between 1999 and 2000. UAQ was a popular aerodrome that offered skydiving, although the runway was unpaved.
A Past to Remember
You might just be surprised to see how much this aircraft has witnessed over its time. Quiet and dusty now, she flew all kinds of flights decades ago.
She started off as a part of the Soviet Union’s military among the thousands of Ilyushin. The type itself was brought in to replace the older An 12s specifically for strategic cargo missions with landing and taking off from short airstrips, irrespective of the condition.
According to the Aero Transport Data Bank, the aircraft was built in 1975 in part of the Soviet Union, which is present-day Uzbekistan. In the early 1980s, she wore the registration CCCP-86715 under the military. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it flew for the Russian Air Force under registration RA-86715, and…
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