Rafael Ivanovich Kapreliants

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Rafael Ivanovich Kapreliants
Born 5 May 1909
Died 12 July 1984(1984-07-12) (aged 75)
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Order of Lenin

Rafael Ivanovich Kapreliants (Gabrielyan) (Russian: Капрэлян Рафаил Иванович; May 5, 1909, Baku - July 12, 1984, Moscow) was a Soviet Armenian first class pilot, Honoured Test Pilot of the USSR, a Hero of the Soviet Union (1975) and the holder of 10 world records for helicopters.[1]


Kapreliants was born in the family of Armenian doctor Hovnan Gabrielyan. He graduated from Leningrad Institute of engineers for the Civil Air Fleet (CAF) in 1932, and Bataysk pilot's school in 1934.

He had flown on the air routes of the CAF before World War II, mastering practically all kinds of transport aircraft, that were being used in the USSR at the time. During the war, he was the second-in-command of the special forces airgroup, fulfilling tasks of the General Staff. During one of such flights, he landed poorly as a result of acute icing and was taken as a POW by the Nazis, but he managed to escape and found himself among partisans. After his return to the Soviet Union, he was appointed as the commander of the 89th bomber regiment. His regiment represented the long-range aviation at the Victory Parade on the June 24, 1945.

He worked as a test-pilot since 1947. He tested the long bomber Tu-4, a new production aircraft at the time. Kapreliants was the head-pilot of the Experimental Constructing Bureau piloting Mil Mi-1s from 1953 to 1966. He was the first person to fly the Mi-4, Mi-6 and Mi-10 helicopters. During his regular leave, he joined the staff of the diesel-electric ship "Ob", he reached the latitude of the Mi-4 from the deck of the "Ob".

He tested 57 aircraft and helicopters, coping altogether with about 75 flying devices.


  1. Rafael Ivanovich Kapreliants. Military and industrial complex. Jubilees // "Armenian Army" quarterly, #2, 2004, p. 83