THE TESTER HERO-PILOT
A double Lenin’s prize, the October revolution, the Peoples’ friendship, “The Honor sign” Order Knight, USSR honored tester-pilot and finally- the hero of the Soviet Union. This is all about one person. And that person is our compatriot Gurgen Karapetyan.
Gurgen Karapetyan was born on December 9, 1936 in Sverdlovsk (currently Yekaterinburgh). Already when studying in the 9th grade, he had his first flight on the PO-2 airplane. And that happened in Sverdlovsk air-club, when the boy had just have his 17th birthday. It’s understandable that at the year of his graduation from school, there was no question of choosing a higher education institution. Gurgen had already decided where he would continue his education: it was the aviation institute of Moscow, yes the famous MAI.
The young man had decided to be an Aircraft designer. He entered the faculty of Aircraft building, the department of Helicopter building.
Gurgen Karapetyan graduated from the institute in 1961 and was sent to work in the special Construction bureau after Michael Mil as the leading engineer of the flight-experimental service. Only a year later the young specialist was sent to be trained as a tester pilot in the flight research institute after Michael Gromov.
Choosing the helicopter as his main “working tool”, Gurgen Karapetyan hasn’t forgotten the planer too. He has even had a record in this sport- flying in the sky for 6 hours, 49 minutes on the KAI-12 planer.
There have been many cases when both the pilot’s live and the tested sample were under danger. Only thanks to his professionalism and the ability to concentrate at once, he had managed to save his own life and the life of the valuable sample. Like this, MI-24 helicopter, for the first time in the Soviet Union, the helicopter gets uncontrollable and begins to circle. In aviation is called “helicopter tailspin”. The experienced pilot didn’t lose himself. He made 7 circles an… brought the helicopter out of the “tailspin”.
In 1974 Gurgen Karapetyan realized an action that has never been repeated after himself neither in USSR, nor in Russia. The MI-14 helicopter-amphibia, ridden by him, had “landed” in the sea. It’s not enough. In 1980 Gurgen Karapetyan, in his MI-26 that weight 50 tons with the baggage inside, landed with the engines off, i.e. through the autorotation.
Ruben Karapetyan might have received a new doze of adrenaline when he realized such flights that had never been realized before him. He made such a flight by the military MI-28 helicopter when he made “Nesterov’s circle” and other figures of the higher pilotage.
Ruben Karapetyan has been twice remarkable for realizing his civic duty. At first, he was sent to work in Afghanistan by the USSR Minister of Defense, USSR mayor Dmitriy Ustinov’s order in 1980, where the limited contingent of the Soviet Army needed instructor-pilots who would teach the Soviet pilots to make flights in the high mountainous areas.
Gurgen Karapetyan expressed his high qualities of a pilot in May of 1986 in Chernobil when eliminating of the results of the accident at the nuclear power station. His patriotic and at the same time dangerous work was highly praised by the Soviet government. One more prize was added to his many awards- the Award of the Peoples’ friendship.
Our countryman pilot’s name has been in the Guinness World Records since 1985. And it is not surprising, because his records are really an exclusive phenomenon. Isn’t his world record of 1978 surprising? On the modified A-10 version of the MI-24A helicopter he had a record in speed of 368,4 kilometers’ an hour. His other record that he has made by MI-26 helicopter, is not less significant: he raised to 6400 meters with 10 tones of baggage.
Summarizing this short essay about the Soviet Union’s hero (the last Armenian hero as I remember) Gurgen Karapetyan, we’d like to mention that he has flown by all the types of helicopters, planes, planers and their different modifications of the firm after Mil. He has flown for 40 years, 33 of which (from 1961 to 1994) has worked as a tester-pilot. Giving up flying because of his age, Gurgen Rubeni Karapetyan has worked in the company that was dear to him the Helicopter factory of Moscow after Michael Mil, occupying different official positions, including the deputy director’s position.
“Armenpress” is heartily congratulating the prominent tester-pilot’s 80th birthday and wishes him good health and long life.
Levon Azroyan, correspondent of “Armenpress”
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