Famous Mark Gallay, honored test pilot, who piloted all models having wings. Renowned Gallay – Hero of the Soviet Union and doctor of engineering. Gallay – coach of the first cosmonauts, who advised phrase “Off we go!” to Gagarin.
In his youth, Mark Gallay went in for boxing and made great progress in this kind of sports, but then cooled off and entered an aero club. His boxing section mates would joke: “You should not have quit boxing. You would tour the world as a boxer.” It was true to life. Involved in testing secret machines, Gallay was banned from traveling abroad for many years. By the start of war, he graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute and flying school. During the war, his aircraft was shot down above the enemy’s territory, yet he dropped by parachute and found the way to partisan camp. When Gallay was performing the parachute jump his flying boots were burning. He could jump out of the plane earlier, yet preferred to pilot it away from occupied Bryansk to save people. Having fallen down, the pilot damaged his spinal column and would fly with back pain for half of his life. Starting from 1943, he would teach the planes how to fly. They say that he had a habit of talking to the aircraft and patting its wings and hull. Questioned by his friends, the pilot would answer: “I try to persuade the machine not to let me down in the air.” Gallay was awarded with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1957, and started training cosmonauts in 1960. In 1965, he joined the Union of Writers. One of his scripts bears a symbolic name – I am flying for love. Film director Eldar Ryazanov was on friendly terms with Gallay and rated his friend highly. Ryazanov assured that if a unit of absolute decency was invented, it should be called Gallay. Mark Gallay remained in the sky forever – a minor planet was named in his honor.