Mikhail Mil

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Mikhail Mil
Rus Stamp-Mil-1.jpg
Mil on a 1990 Russian commemorative postage stamp
Born 22 November 1909
Irkutsk, Russian Empire
Died January 31, 1970(1970-01-31) (aged 60)
Moscow, USSR
Nationality Soviet Union (Russian)
Occupation Engineer
Engineering career
Discipline Aeronautical Engineering
Employer(s) Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant

Mikhail Leontyevich Mil ([Михаил Леонтьевич Миль] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)); 22 November 1909 – 31 January 1970 was a Soviet aerospace engineer. He was founder of the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, which is responsible for many well-known Soviet helicopter models.[1]


Mil was born in Irkutsk to a middle-class Jewish family.[citation needed] His father was an employee of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and his mother was a dentist. His grandfather was a cantonist drafted from Libava (today Liepāja), Latvia who settled in Siberia after 25 years in the Imperial Russian Navy.

At the age 12, Mil won first prize for a model glider competition. In 1926 he entered the Siberian Technological Institute in Tomsk; however, since there was no curriculum for aeronautical engineering, he transferred in 1928 to the Don Polytechnical Institute in Novocherkassk, where he was able to specialize in aviation. He married a fellow student, P.G. Rudenko, in 1932 and 4 daughters and a son followed.

After graduation, he began his career at TsAGI in 1931, too late to work under its original founder, Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky. He specialized in the design of autogyros, and was an assistant to his future rival, Nikolay Kamov. With the start of World War II, Mil was drafted into the Red Army and fought on the Eastern Front in 1941 near Yelnya. In 1943, he was called back to continue research and development in improving the stability and control of combat aircraft. He completed his dissertations ("Candidate", 1943, Ph.D., 1945) and in 1947 headed the Helicopter Lab at TsAGI, which was later turned into the Moscow Helicopter Plant.

Mikhail Mil's creations won many domestic and international awards and set 69 world records. Most notably, the Mil Mi-4 won a Gold Medal in the Brussels International Exhibition in 1958. In 1971, after his death, his Mil Mi-12 won the Sikorsky Prize as the most powerful helicopter in the world.

He died in 1970 in Moscow and was buried in Yudinskoe Cemetery in the outskirts of Moscow.

Awards and honors


  • Pederson, Jay. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.24, St James Press (1998) ISBN 1-55862-365-5
  • Bull, Stephan. Encyclopedia of Military Technology and Innovation, Greenwood (2004) ISBN 1-57356-557-1
  • Gordon, Yefim. Soviet Air Power in World War II. Midland Publishing (2008) ISBN 1-85780-304-3