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Galina Gavrilovna Korchuganova
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Galina Korchuganova joined a sport parachute club while in high school and immediately fell in love with aviation. She graduated with highest honors from high school and was accepted at Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) where she majored in aviation technology. After graduation from MAI in 1959, she worked as an engineer at Ramensk Avionics Construction Bureau and competed in sport aviation. In 1965 she set her first world record on a 100 km closed circuit flying the Yak-32 jet. Galina became the first absolute world aerobatic champion among women, winning gold and silver medals at the World Championship in Moscow in 1966. Only after winning championships and flying more than 1,000 hours did she receive a reply to her request to attend test pilot school from the Ministry of Aviation. They had a condition: "If you can find a brave man who is willing to take you as a test pilot, we won't object, as an exception to the rules." There was no brave man found; however, there was a woman. Hero of the Soviet Union Valentina Stepanova Grizodubova was head of the Science Research Center of Flight Test, and she gave Galina a chance. She graduated from the flight school in Kirovograd and flew until 1984, advancing in rank from test pilot of the 5th class to 2nd class. Galina went on to set a total of 42 world records in Yak-32, Yak-40, and AN-24 aircraft. hours. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in late 1991, Galina looked around and saw her women friends being forced out of aviation into more "useful" careers. She founded Aviatrissa in 1992 to provide support and guidance to women in aviation fields, and was their first president. Sadly, on January 18, 2004, she passed away following a long illness.