Military Aviation

REMEMBERING THE ABSOLUTE ALTITUDE RECORD SET BY FEDOTOV MiG-25 ON AUG. 31, 1977

Flying a re-engined MiG-25, Fedotov reached the record height of 123,523 feet (37,650 meters) above Podmoskovnoe, Russia

On Aug. 31, 1977 Alexandr Vasilievich Fedotov, an official ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and test pilot, set an FAI World Record for altitude when he climbed to 123,523 feet (37,650 meters) in his MiG-25.

As reported on Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI-World Air Sports Federation) website the record still stands today.

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

A test pilot since 1958 he 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 on Aug. 31, 1977.

To establish that record, Fedotov flew an experimental MiG-25 fighter. The aircraft was actually a MiG-25RB re-engined with the powerful R15BF2-300. Flying this aircraft he reached the record height of 123,523 feet above Podmoskovnoe, Russia.

According to FAI 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.

Alexandr Vasilievich Fedotov

Fedotov died in a flying accident on Apr. 4, 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.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 (NATO reporting name: Foxbat) is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. It was conceived, designed and developed by the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau, and built primarily using stainless steel, one of the few combat aircraft to do so.

The MiG-25 was the last plane designed by Mikhail Gurevich before his retirement.

Photo credit: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia Commons and testpilot.ru

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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