One of the Soviet Union's greatest test pilots, Pyotr Ostapenko, who helped develop MiG fighter planes for over thirty years, died aged 83 on Sunday, MiG said.
"One of our country's oldest test pilots passed away on April 8," MiG said. "All his life Pyotr Maksimovich Ostapenko was inseparably connected with national and world aviation. His contribution as a test pilot to the development of world aviation was priceless."
Ostapenko helped develop no less than 64 aircraft variants, including the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29 and MiG-31 fighters and interceptors, and the EPOS (article 105.11) space vehicle prototype. He flew over 5,000 hours as a test pilot, made over 10,000 landings, and held eight world aviation records including absolute altitude and speed records gained in Ye-166 and MiG-25 aircraft.
He survived an ejection from a prototype MiG-31 interceptor in 1979.
He made a huge contribution to MiG's test pilot school. Awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, he also held the Order of Lenin, Red Banner Order of Labor, Red Star, and was awarded a USSR State Prize. He was also awarded the title of USSR Senior Test Pilot and USSR Senior Aircraft Builder.
He was also awarded the De Lavaux international aviation prize in 1963.
His son Viktor is also a test pilot and aerobatics instructor.