A Top Soviet-Era Test Pilot

Georgy Mosolov talks about his favorite MiGs and his friend Yuri Gagarin

George Mosolov toured the National Air and Space Museum in 2007. (Courtesy Rodney O. Rogers)

(Continued from page 3)

Air & Space: Colonel Mosolov, you were a friend of Yuri Gagarin’s until his death in 1967. How did you meet him?

Mosolov: In March 1961, Gagarin was one of a group of eight cosmonauts who came to Zhukovsky airdrome for zero G training. I met him there along with the other trainees. We liked each other, and ultimately Yuri and I became very close friends. For example, after Gagarin’s flight into space, my wife and I and Gagaran and his wife vacationed together at a Black Sea resort.

Air & Space: What kind of background did Yuri Gagarin come from?

Mosolov: He was from a small rural village. His parents were simple farmers. Originally schooled as a steel worker, he learned to fly in a flying club and ultimately became a pilot in the Russian Air Force. He was largely self-educated. In every way, he was a self-made man.

Air & Space: What was Gagarin like socially?

Mosolov: Gagarin was intellectually curious and had a wide range of interests. He had excellent communication skills and could converse easily with many different kinds of people.

Air & Space: Gagarin became famous after his flight into space. How did this affect him?

Mosolov: Gagarin was an uncomplicated, humble man, a very sincere person. World fame did not change him in the least.

Air & Space: Did Gagarin have a good sense of humor?

Mosolov: Gagarin had a great sense of humor. He was a superb teller of jokes and an accomplished mimic, almost a stand up comedian. He knew how to relax, and he enjoyed having a good time. He was at ease everywhere.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus