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Valentin F. Kovalyov

Valentin F. Kovalyov Valentin F. Kovalyov

Hero of the Soviet Union (1960), honoured test-pilot of the USSR (1963), captain(1944).

Valentin Kovalyov was born on July 16 (29), 1914 in the city of Baku (Azerbaijan). In 1931, he finished school for glider pilots in the city of Mineralnye Vody of Stavropol Krai. In 1933 Valentin Kovalyov finished school of education for manufacture workers and Baku aero club. In 1933-1934 he worked at Baku aero club as a glider flight instructor.

In 1937 Valentin Kovalyov graduated from Bataisk aviation school for pilots of Civil Air Fleet. Then he worked as a pilot (in the Eastern Siberia department) and as a flight commander of the training aviasquadron of Yenisei CAF aviagroup. Since June, 1942 Valentin Kovalyov was in the army. He was a participant of the Great Patriotic War: from September 1942 to May, 1945 he was a first pilot, the commander of group, the deputy commander and the commander of aviasquadron of the 101st (since November, 1944 - of the 31st Guards) long-range aviation air regiment. Within the period of the war, Valentin Kovalyov had performed about 194 combat flights for transportation of arms and cargo to the front line and partisans, and for bombing facilities behind the enemy lines. Since August, 1946 he was reserved.

In 1949 Valentin Kovalyov finished courses at Test-Pilot School. In 1947-1950, he was a test-pilot of Research Institute № 17 (which is nowadays called NPO Vzlet). He has performed tests of different radar systems on Li-2 and Il-12.

In 1950-1955 Valentin Kovalyov was a test-pilot of Flight Research Institute n.a. M.M. Gromov. He took part in tests of navigation equipment on Tu-16 (1955), performed a number of works within the scope of the Institute's activities on Il-28, Pe-8, Tu-2 airplanes and on Mi-4 helicopter.

In 1955-1962 Valentin Kovalyov was a test-pilot of Tupolev design bureau. He had lifted in the sky and carried out tests of Tu-16R (August, 1955), first Tu-16 of the production plant № 64 in the city of Voronezh (1955), first Tu-104 of the production plant № 135 in the city of Kharkov (on November 5, 1955), Tu-98 (1956), the Tu-107 (1958), Tu-22B (1960). Valentin Kovalyov has also performed tests on adjusting Tu-16 wing-to-wing refuelling technology, operational tests of Tu-104 (1956), tests of Tu-104 at critical modes (1958). In 1956 he was the first pilot in the USSR to reach sonic speed on the bomber (Tu-98).

Valentin Kovalyov established 22 world aviation records (6 of them - as a 2nd pilot): 11 records of speed, range and loading capacity on Tu-104А (1957), 5 records of speed on Tu-104B (1959) and 6 records on Tu-10E (1960).

Valentin Kovalyov lived in the city of Zhukovsky of Moscow region, and during the last years of his life he lived in Moscow. He worked at Tupolev design bureau as an engineer. Valentin Kovalyov died on November 30, 1972. He was buried at the Vagonkovskoe cemetery in Moscow.

Valentin Kovalyov was awarded two Orders of Lenin (1943, 1960), the Order of the Red Banner (1945), the Order of the Red Star (1943), two Orders of the Badge of Honour (1957, 1961), medals (including medal "To the partisan of the Patriotic war" of the 1st class).