On this day in history: Alexandr Fedotov flies into the record books

Mig-25Alexandr Vasilievich Fedotov, an official ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and test pilot, set an FAI World Record for altitude on 31 August 1977 when he climbed to 37,650m in his MiG-25. The record still stands today.

Fedotov, born on 23 June 1932 in Stalingrad in the then-USSR, was a highly-esteemed Soviet test pilot and a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute.

A test pilot since 1958 he had helped test-fly the famous MiG series of planes, including the MiG-19, MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29 and MiG-31. He was the first Soviet test pilot to reach Mach 3 - three-times the speed of sound.

During his time as a test pilot he set 15 aviation world records, including the one set 40 years ago on 31 August 1977.fedotov

For that, he was flying an experimental MiG-25 fighter. He reached the record height of 37,650m (123,523 feet) above Podmoskovnoe, Russia. He set a world record in Class C of Powered Aeroplanes - for planes that take off under their own power.

Already made a Hero of the Soviet Union in 1966, Fedotov went on to become a Major-General of Aviation and an Honoured Coach of the USSR.

Fedotov died in a flying accident in on 4 April 1984, when the MiG-31 he was testing entered a tailspin from which it did not recover.

He was buried in his home city of Zhukovsky, near Moscow.