Chkalov, Valerii Pavlovich
Born Jan. 20 (Feb. 2), 1904, in the village of Vasilevo, now the city of Chkalovsk, Chkalovsk Raion, Gorky Oblast; died Dec. 15, 1938, in Moscow. Soviet aviator. Hero of the Soviet Union (July 24, 1936); brigade commander. Member of the CPSU from 1936.
The son of a worker, Chkalov volunteered for the Red Army in 1919 and worked as an airplane assembler with an airpark in Nizhny Novgorod. From 1921 to 1924, he studied at the Egor’-evsk and Borisoglebsk flight schools, the Moscow School of Aerobatics, and the Serpukhov Higher School of Air Gunnery and Bombing. In 1924 he joined the Red Banner Fighter Squadron, distinguishing himself as a skillful pilot. In 1930 he became a test pilot at the Air Force Research Institute. He tested more than 70 types of airplanes and developed and introduced new aerobatic maneuvers, namely, the ascending spin and the slow roll.
Chkalov was exceptionally courageous, persistent, and tenacious. Between July 20 and 22, 1936, Chkalov, together with G. F. Baidukov and A. V. Beliakov, made a nonstop flight from Moscow to Udd Island via Petropavlovsk-na-Kamchatke, covering 9,374 km in 56 hours and 20 minutes. Between July 18 and 20, 1937, Chkalov, Baidukov, and Beliakov flew nonstop from Moscow to Vancouver (USA) over the North Pole, covering 8,504 km in 63 hours and 16 minutes.
Chkalov was a deputy to the first convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner. He died while testing a new fighter plane. He is buried on Red Square at the Kremlin wall.
WORKSMoia zhizn’ prinadlezhit Rodine: St. i rechi. Moscow, 1954.
REFERENCESVodop’ianov, M. V. Letchik Valerii Chkalov. Moscow, 1959.
Beliakov, A. V. V. Chkalov. Moscow, 1974.