Svetlana Kapanina BioSvetlana Kapanina was born on December 28, 1968 in Shchuchinsk, Republic of Kazakhstan. She has an extensive career as an aerobatic racing pilot and aerobatic flying instructor for Russia.
Originally trained as a pharmacist, Kapanina always enjoyed gymnastics and parachuting. For a while she considered becoming a paratrooper. In 1988 she took up aerobatic flying which she pursued as a hobby. By 1991 she was a member of the Russian Aerobatic Joint Crew and in 1995 she graduated from Kaluga Pilots School. She trains with the Russian National Team near Moscow.
Kapanina, nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies”, exclusively flies Russian manufactured Sukhoi aerobatics aircraft and has competed using the Su-26, Su-26M3 and Su-31 models. She is the most decorated female aerobatics pilot in the world.
To date Kapanina has achieved the following: Soviet Union Champion (1991), United States Champion (1995), the only pilot awarded the title of Overall World Aerobatics Champion a record six times (1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007), Overall World Air Games Champion (1997, 2001), Overall European Aerobatics Champion (1997, 2006), Overall Russian National Aerobatics Champion (1991, 2001), Awarded with 38 Gold medals in World Aerobatics Championships, FAI World Grand Prix Champion (2007), FAI World Grand Prix Silver medals (2007), Al Ain international aerobatics Champion (2007), FAI World JK Aerobatics Formula Silver medals (2008), Awarded with FAI medal as the best pilot of the century, Awarded with FAI Sabihi Gokchen medal as the only fivefold World Cup winner, Silver medals at the World Championship (1995, 2003, 2005), Bronze medals at the World Championship (1995, 2000).
In addition she has received two honors from her homeland; the Russian medal for Service to the Motherland in 1995 – a military award for high performance, as well as the Award of Honor in 2002 for high achievement in professional sports. She is an unwavering advocate for increased recognition of competitive aerobatic flying in Russia.