About Vladimir Kokkinaki

On May 31, 2019, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed the decree on assignment of names of outstanding Russians to 44 airports of the country. During a national vote, the name of Vladimir Konstantinovich Kokkinaki was assigned to Anapa International Airport.

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Vladimir Kokkinaki in his office with a model of the aircraft named “Moscow”. Moscow, 1939. Photo: A. Mezhuev

Vladimir Kokkinaki is an honored test pilot, twice the Hero of the Soviet Union, the Major General of aviation, the Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR. One of the most outstanding test pilots of the 20th century.


Kokkinaki was born in Novorossiysk on 25 June 1904. He finished elementary school and worked on grape plantations and in the Novorossiysk port.

Vladimir Kokkinaki's youth was during that time when the Soviet aviation began to develop rapidly. He entered the Red Army in 1925. Having chosen his future profession, he asks to transfer him to flight troops. In 1927, he entered the Leningrad Military-Theoretical School of the Red Air Force from where he graduated in 1928.

He subsequently entered the Borisoglebsk pilot school, from where he graduated in 1930. He devoted all his free time to trainings to learn to monitor devices. He would spend hours working with the equipment in workshops.

In 1931 - a pilot-instructor in the Leningrad Military-Theoretical School.

In the period 1932–1935 he served as test pilot for the Air Force, testing a series of aircrafts I-16, DI-4, i-15, participated in testing of an aircraft “Zveno”.

On 21 November 1935, Kokkinaki set an unofficial world record for ceiling in a Polikarpov I-15 fighter, reaching the altitude of 14,575 meters. In the same year, he led the first aviation group "Red Five". Their performances have laid the foundation for spectacular air shows.

1950-1968 years - working as the main test pilot in a Construction Design Office of Sergey Ilyushin.

Vladimir Kokkinaki during his professional activity:

  • The only test pilot who is twice awarded ranks of the Hero of the Soviet Union;

  • Set up 7 records of speed and loading capacity on TsKB-26 aircraft, performed Nesterov air loop with a two-engine aircraft (1936-1937);

  • Set up 13 records of speed and loading capacity on Il-18 (1958-1960) aircraft;

  • Had piloting skills of all aircraft types;

  • Owner of the rank "Honored Test Pilot of the USSR" (1959);

  • Received the Lenin award for tests of Il-18 (1960);

  • Awarded with 6 Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, 3 Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of the Patriotic war of the 1st class, 4 Orders of the Red Star, medals, foreign awards;

  • Awarded FAI Gold Air Medal (1965);

  • Honored by the International Air Transport Association with the diamond "wind rose" necklace (1965).

Non-stop flight "Moscow - Spassk-Dalny (Vladivostok)"

On 27–28 June 1938, on board of a modified TsKB-30 named "Moscow", with A.M. Bryandinskiy as his navigator, Kokkinaki flew from Moscow to Spassk-Dalny in the Soviet Far East, covering a distance of 7,580 km in 24 h 36 min. For this feat, they were awarded the title "Hero of the Soviet Union"

Non-stop flight “Moscow – North America”

On 28-29 April 1939, with Mikhail Kh. Gordienko as co-pilot, on the aircraft TsKB-30 named “Moscow” he performed a non-stop east-west transatlantic flight on the route Moscow-North America (Moscow- Novgorod – Helsinki – Trondheim – Iceland – Cape Farewell – Miscou Island). The distance of the route was 8,000 km.

Due to force majeur circumstances the flight had to be interrupted on the island of Miskou. Despite failing to reach his original destination New-York, the objective was achieved as they reached North America. The flight lasted 23 hours 50 minutes. Kokkinaki considered that this flight on the military bomber would become the first step to passenger aviation over northern Atlantic. And he was right – this route was the basis for the regular Transatlantic flights .

In 1965, he was honored by the International Air Transport Association with the diamond "wind rose" necklace for his finding the "shortest flight route between Europe and America". Vladimir Kokkinaki is considered to be the only owner of this award.