Valentina Grizodubova

Valentina Grizodubova

Valentina Grizodubova

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Valentina Stepanovna Grizodubova (, Valentina Stepanivna Grizodubova; May 10, 1909 in Kharkov – 1 May, 1993 in Moscow) was a one of the first female pilots in the Soviet Union and was awarded titles Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of Socialist Labour.

Early life and pre-war career

Born in Khar'kov (currently Kharkiv, Ukraine), she was the daughter of Vasil'yevich Grizodubov, a pioneer aircraft designer. At the age of fourteen, she flew a glider solo. She played piano and graduated from a conservatory as well as the Khar'kov Technical Institute. She also spoke several foreign languages. In 1929, she graduated from the Penza Flying Club of the paramilitary association Osoviakhim. She also trained at the Khar'kov Flying School.

In 1933, she graduated from the Tula Advanced Flying School. Here she became a flight instructor and trained 86 male pilots, many of whom became Heroes of Soviet Union. From 1934 to 1938 she flew in a "Propaganda" Squadron named after Maxim Gorky.

She flew many types of aircraft and set seven world records including one for highest altitude reached by a female pilot on a two-seater seaplane (3.267 metres) on 15 October 1937, three speed records and one...
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