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Rafael Ivanovich Kaprelyan
Born 5 May 1909
Died 12 July 1984(1984-07-12) (aged 75)
Place of birth Baku
Place of death Moscow
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union

Rafael Ivanovich Kaprelyan (Gabrielyan) (Russian: Рафаил Иванович Капрэлян; May 5, 1909 in Baku – July 12, 1984 in Moscow) was a Merited Test Pilot of the USSR and a Hero of the Soviet Union (1975)[1]


Kaprelyan was born in the family of Armenian doctor Hovnan Gabrielyan. He graduated from Leningrad Institute of engineers for the Civil Air Fleet (CAF) in 1932, and Bataysk pilot's school in 1934.

He worked as an airline pilot before World War II, mastering practically all kinds of the USSR transport aircraft of that time. During the war, he was the second-in-command of the special forces airgroup, fulfilling tasks of the General Staff. During one such flight, he landed poorly as a result of acute icing and was taken as a POW by the Nazis, but he managed to escape and found himself among partisans. He was later appointed commander of the 89th bomber regiment. His regiment represented long-range aviation at the Victory Parade on June 24, 1945.

From 1947 he worked as a test-pilot, and tested the long bomber Tu-4. He was a lead test pilot of the Mi-1 helicopter programme from 1953 to 1966. He carried out the maiden flights of the Mi-4, Mi-6 and Mi-10 helicopters. He tested 57 aircraft and helicopters, altogether flew about 75 types of aircraft.


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