Biography[edit | edit source]
Timur Apakidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR into an ethnically Georgian family of the descendants of Georgian princes Apakidze, but at a very young age moved to Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) with his family. In 1971 he finished at Leningrad's Nakhimov Naval Academy before finishing flight training in 1975 at Yeyskoye Military Flight Academy  Between 1975 and 1983 Apakidze served in the Soviet Naval Aviation element of the Soviet Baltic Fleet gaining reputation as one of its best test pilots. After 1983 Apakidze headed a battle group centred around the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and flew Sukhoi Su-33 aircraft on numerous missions with the Black Sea Fleet.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union his naval aviation unit based in Crimea refused to join the newly created Ukrainian Air Force and in addition Apakidze also refused an offer to head the Air force of his native Georgia. Instead he and his men remained loyal to Russia and were re-deployed to Severomorsk together with the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov. Serving with Northern Fleet Apakidze was in charge of Russian Naval Aviation's only Fleet Defense Interceptor squadron in the 1990s.
On August 17, 1995 for his outstanding contributions to the Russian naval aviation, and for courage and heroism in the testing and mastery of new technology Timur Apakidze was awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation. In 2000, after study at the General Staff Academy, Apakidze was appointed deputy commander of naval aviation and promoted to the rank of major general.
On July 17, 2001, Apakidze died near the town of Ostrov in Pskov Oblast when his Sukhoi Su-33 crashed during an air show. In the last moments of his life he managed to steer his aircraft away from a populated area.
Honours and awards[edit | edit source]
- "Gold Star" Hero of the Russian Federation (17 August 1995)
- Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class
- Order for Personal Courage
- Medal for Combat Service
- Jubilee Medal "300 Years of the Russian Navy"
- Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Medal "For Impeccable Service" 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes
- Honoured Military Pilot of the Russian Federation
References[edit | edit source]
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