Vladimir Konstantinovich Kokkinaki

Kokkinaki, Vladimir Konstantinovich


Born June 12 (25), 1904, in Novorossiisk. Honored Test Pilot of the USSR (1959), major general of aviation (1943), twice Hero of the Soviet Union (July 17, 1938, and Sept. 17, 1957), Honored Master of Sport (1959). Became a member of the CPSU in 1938. The son of a railroad official.

Kokkinaki joined the Red Army in 1925 and graduated from the Borisoglebsk Flight School in 1930. He was a test pilot from 1931 to 1965, specializing in high altitude flights from 1932. On Nov. 21, 1935, Kokkinaki climbed to 14,575 m using a single-seat plane, and on July 17, 1936, he climbed to 11,458 m with a cargo of 500 kg, surpassing world records. The high speed flights he made in 1936 included the flights Moscow-Eisk-Moscow, Moscow-Baku-Moscow, Moscow-Sverdlovsk-Moscow, and Moscow-Sevastopol’-Sverdlovsk-Moscow. On June 27–28, 1938, he made a nonstop flight from Moscow to Vladivostok in 24 hours 36 minutes, and on Apr. 28, 1939, he made a nonstop flight from Moscow to Miscou Island (Canada) in 22 hours and 56 minutes. Kokkinaki set a total of 22 world records. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) he worked as a test pilot while serving as chief inspector of the aviation industry and a leader of the industry’s flight-testing service. Kokkinaki has been a test pilot and methods specialist since 1965.

A laureate of the Lenin Prize (1960), Kokkinaki has been awarded five Orders of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner, Orders of the Patriotic War First and Second Class, four Orders of the Red Star, and medals. He has also been awarded the gold medal of the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) and the Wind Rose diamond necklace. Vice-president (1961) and president of the FAI, Kokkinaki has been honorary president of the FAI since December 1968.