One day of aviation mega fun in North Korea!

by Simon Wentzel

Sounds crazy, I know. But if you love aviation and going places, that nobody else goes… then North Korea is your destination! Of course you can still catch a few flights on old Russian metal in other countries. But it is something very special and an absolutely unique thing to find a whole fleet of classic Russian jetliners within one airline – And the airline is Air Koryo, the national airline of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

So what types are we talking about? My personal highlight was definitely the Ilyushin IL76, which is still a quite common type of a cargo and military transport plane. It is just pure fun to fly on it, take off is very short, thanks to the powerful engines. 

Another very unique thing was the IL62 with its four engines attached to the fuselage. Air Koryo is the only remaining airline in the world operating this type of airplane for passenger use. 



Our day on the Air Koryo fleet

A day of flying starts early in the DPRK. So we got up early today to be driven to the airport. On our way to the airport we passed the city center and train stations and got your first glimpse of the North Korean life. 

After a 40 minute drive we reached the airport, where we arrived the afternoon before. Today would be a day full of aviation fun until the late afternoon!



Welcome back to Pyongyang Sunan Airport!


Our boarding passes were given out by our tour guides. Our first flight of the day would be the mighty Ilyushin IL76, a cargo plane used by the North Korean military. Therefore we will have to live with pictures from the outside. 

A flight on the IL76 is just pure fun. The take off with only a few dozen people and no cargo on board was very short, the powerful four engines of the Ilyushin were loud and pushing!



We did a few circles over the DPRK before we flew back to Pyongyang airport after a total flight time of approximately 40 minutes. And everybody wandet to go again. I didn’t see a single face without a big smile. 🙂 

Next flight on our schedule would be another Ilyushin. The IL62M is a really unique plane with its four engines attached to the rear of the fuselage. And there is only a hand full of other planes still flying. One is a cargo plane and some others are government planes. So this is the only remaining plane for passenger use… 

Our flight would be from Pyongyang to Wonsan with some photo opportunity on the apron at Wonsan Airport. After half an hour on the ground we would go back to Pyongyang in the IL62M.



The afternoon programme

After the IL62M we took some lunch at one of the airport restaurants, which was quite good.

In the afternoon another Russian classic would be waiting for us: The Tupolev TU134B-3 of Air Koryo, that would again fly us to Wonsan and back after some time on the ground.



Back to Pyongyang the flying part was over for me and I spent some time on the ground while others took another flight on the more modern Antonov AN148-100B.



What a day of fun! A huge THANK YOU to Juche Travel Services, all their tour guides and of course Air Koryo to make this an unforgettable trip!

The next day would also contain some flying, but only until the afternoon. This will come in another blog post soon! 

You may also like

Leave a Comment