ACCESS: Above Top Secret
- Apr 2, 2006
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Vladimir Sergeevich Ilyushin was born on 31 March, 1927, the eldest son of leading Soviet aircraft designer Sergei Vladimirovich Ilyushin. Ilyushin's father was a favoured member of the Soviet establishment. It may be noted that aircraft designer Tupolev blamed Ilyushin's father for the denunciation that sent Tupolev to a special engineering prison in the Soviet Gulag in 1937. Vladimir's ambition was to be a test pilot of leading-edge, fast aircraft. He fulfilled this in an illustrious career that won him the highest state prizes and military promotions several years ahead of the norm throughout his life. In his spare time he was active in rugby and collecting automobiles (among them a 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air). He was Deputy Chief Designer and Lead Test Pilot for the Sukhoi design bureau until his retirement. Over his life he flew 145 different types of aircraft and made a number of important first and record flights. The following are the known and public highlights of his life:
1952 - Completed qualification as a Soviet test pilot
1953 - Began work at LII state test flight centre
1957 - Began working for the Sukhoi design bureau, first as part of the test team for the T-3 (Su-7 supersonic fighter prototype)
1957, September 10 - made first flight of Su-9 production aircraft
1959, July 14 - Achieved world record altitude of 28,857 m aboard the T-431, a modified Su-9 fighter
1960 - Awarded prize as Hero of the Soviet Union
1960, June 2 - Ilyushin seriously injured in an automobile accident. It is said that he was sent to Hangchow, China, for 35 days of special therapy.
1961, April 10 - On the day prior to Yuri Gagarin's first flight, a newspaper account written by British Communist journalist Dennis Ogden stated that the Soviet Union had launched a man into space and that he had been injured. The next day French journalist Eduard Brobovsky named the man as Ilyushin. Other sources stated that Ilyushin was still walking with a cane as a result of his accident the previous summer.
1961, April 12 - Yuri Gagarin makes the first flight into space. Following the flight Brobovsky runs stories stating that Ilyushin was the first into space, and that Gagarin's mission had never taken place or was a cover for Ilyushin's unsuccessful flight.
1961, May 1 - Soviet news agency TASS runs an item, datelined Beijing, quoting Ilyushin as calling the stories of Brobovsky 'rubbish and delusions'.
1961 - Named Merited Master of Sport of the USSR
1962, September 7- Achieved record sustained altitude of 21,270 m aboard the T-431
1965, June - Made first flight of T-6, prototype of the Su-24
1966 - Named Merited Test Pilot of the USSR
1966, August 2 - Made first flight of S-22I, prototype of Su-17
1966-1967 - Worked as instructor at Chkalov test pilot school (cosmonaut Titov among his students)
1971 - Named Deputy Chief Designer of Sukhoi and Lead Test Pilot
1972, August 22 - Made first flight of T-4 tri-sonic bomber prototype
1973 - Promoted to Lieutenant-General of the Air Force
1975, February 22 - Major-General Sukhoi made the first flight of the T-8, prototype of the Su-25
1976, Named Lenin Prize Laureate
1977, May 29 -Made first flight of T-10, predecessor of the Su-27
1981, April 20 - Made first flight of T-10S, prototype of the Su-27