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Legendary Russian test pilot Georgy Mosolov passes away

Colonel Georgy Mosolov was one of the trailblazers of high-altitude and supersonic speed flights and one of the first Soviet pilots to set world records
Georgy Mosolov G. Omelchuk/TASS
Georgy Mosolov
© G. Omelchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Russia’s legendary test pilot Georgy Mosolov, who is credited with an immense contribution to the development of Russian/Soviet combat aviation, has died in Moscow at the age of 91, the press service of MIG Corporation said on Monday.

"The legend of jet aviation has passed away," MIG’s Director General Ilya Tarasenko said. "He was a merited test pilot who made a huge contribution to the development of combat aviation in this country."

Colonel Georgy Mosolov, born in 1926, was one of the trailblazers of high-altitude and supersonic speed flights and one of the first Soviet pilots to set world records. He has six records to his credit, including three absolute ones, and three absolute records in Soviet aviation.

Col Mosolov set some of the records flying the test samples of the unique frontline supersonic fighter jet MIG-21. Also, he was known to be a close friend of the Earth’s first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin.

Col Mosolov was born on May 3, 1926 in the city of Ufa to the West of the Ural Mountains. In 1953, he finished the test pilots school at the Flight Research Institute near Moscow and joined the staff of MIG Corporation the same year.

During the years of active duty, Col Georgy Mosolov mastered more than 50 types of aircraft. He found himself in critical situations in midair but he always managed to land the aircraft.

He mostly tested jet-engine fighters and conducted the knottiest testing when it came to aerodynamics, steadiness and controllability of the aircraft.

On September 7, 1962, Georgy Mosolov received severe wounds as a result of an accident that occurred during the piloting a prototype of the MIG-23 fighter. The aircraft’s engine disintegrated during in the process of maneuvering and the pilot had to catapult. While getting treatment at the Sergei Botkin General Hospital in Moscow he survived two apparent deaths and could not return to the job of a test pilot after recovery.

His further career included the position of the head of a chair of military and patriotic upbringing at the Supreme School of the Young Communists League. From 1978 through 1992, he was the general representative of Aeroflot in a number of countries.

The Soviet authorities decorated him with the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union in October 1960.