Valentina Stepanovna Grizodubova was the commander of the crew of the ANT-37 Rodina aircraft, the first woman awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union; the Deputy head of the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Instrumentation for Flight Tests, the only woman awarded two highest degrees of distinction – the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor. She was born on April 14 (27), 1909 in the provincial city of Kharkov (now the regional centre of Ukraine) in the family of aircraft designer and inventor Stepan Vasilyevich Grizodubov. She was Ukrainian. In 1927 he graduated from the 2nd year of the Kharkov Institute of Technology. In 1929 she graduated from the Penza Flight School of Osoaviakhim. In 1930-1934, she worked as a glider instructor and pilot instructor at the Tula and Moscow flight schools of Osoaviakhim. In 1934-1939, he was a pilot of the Gorky propaganda Squadron at the Central Airfield in Moscow. In 1937, on the UT-1, UT-2 and AIR-12 aircraft, she set 5 world aviation records for altitude, speed and flight range. On September 24-25, 1938, as the crew commander on the ANT-37 Rodina aircraft (co–pilot – P.D. Osipenko, navigator – M.M. Raskova) made a non-stop flight from Moscow to the Far East (the village of Kerbi, the Khabarovsk Krai), setting a world women’s aviation record for a straight flight distance of 5,908.61 km (in 26 hours and 29 minutes, a distance of 6,450 kilometers was covered). Valentina Stepanovna Grizodubova was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union with the award of the Order of Lenin by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated November 2, 1938 for the heroic non–stop long-distance flight on the route Moscow – Far East, the establishment of the women’s international record for the flight distance in a straight line and for the outstanding courage and endurance shown at the same time. After the establishment of the badge of special distinction on November 4, 1939, she was awarded the Gold Star medal. Since 1939 she was the Head of the Department of International Air Lines of the USSR. In 1940-1941, she simultaneously studied at Civil Air Fleet Academy (GVF). She was in the army since June 1941. She was a participant of the Great Patriotic War: in June 1941 – April 1942 – the commander of the ship of the Moscow Special Aviation Group of the GVF, in May 1942 – May 1944 – the commander of the 101st Transport Aviation Regiment (since July 1942 – the 101st long–range aviation regiment). During the war, she made about 200 sorties (including 132 at night) on a Li–2 aircraft to deliver ammunition and military cargo to the front line and two-night combat sorties to the partisans of Ukraine. Since July 1946, Colonel V. S. Grizodubova was in reserve. Since October 1946 she was the Deputy Head of the Research Institute-17 for the flight unit. Personally, she participated in test flights to test and fine-tune the radar equipment being developed at the Research Institute-17. In 1963-1972 she was the Head of the Research Flight Test Center of the Ministry of Radio Industry of the USSR. Since October 1972 she was the Deputy Head of the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Engineering for flight tests. For great achievements in the development of aviation and in connection with the seventy-fifth anniversary of her birth, by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated January 6, 1986, Valentina Stepanovna Grizodubova was awarded the title of the Hero of Socialist Labor with the award of the Order of Lenin and the Hammer and Sickle gold medal.
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