Famous Female Kazakh Pilot is the Muse for Atyrau International Airport’s New Name


In America, when we are asked about legendary female pilots, we immediately think of Amelia Earhart. But the people of Kazakhstan don’t have Earhart as a reference. Instead, they have famous female war pilot Khiuaz Dospanova. Back in May 2o15, Atyrau International Airport was renamed after Khiuaz Dospanova. The name change was suggested by the Atyrau Oblast’s Municipal authorities.

Dospanova was a pilot during World War II in the Great Patriotic War. She was born on May 15, 1922 in Western Kazakhstan. In 1940, when Dospanova was only 18 years old, she received her flying certificate from a local flying facility. Only two years later she joined the war and served in missions with the 588th Bombardment Wing. Here, she took on over 300 operational tasks. And her service must have been impressive, as Dosponova won many awards including the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star, the Patriotic War Order of the 2nd degree, and various medals and other awards.

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While Dospanova made her mark as a pilot, she unfortunately left the war on disability, with fractures in both of her legs. She then moved to Almaty and became active. She eventually became a teacher at the Western Kazakhstan District Party Committee, and then a secretary of the Central Committee at Lenin’s Young Communist League. That’s quite a career change from a fighter pilot to that, don’t you think?

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While Dospanova probably could have pushed the envelope even more, she regrettably had to retire from flying and her positions as instructor and secretary at the age of 40. She died in 2008, just days after her 86th birthday. Revered for her bravery and her diligent work both during war time and after the war, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev rewarded Dospanova the title of “People’s Hero” or, in Kazakh, “Khalyk Kakharmany.”

The story of Dospanova is inspiring, and she is a great figure to have the Atyrau International Airport named after. Dospanova loved her country and fought hard for it. She was truly a hero of the people, and will always be remembered by the people of Kazakhstan.

Sources: En.tengrinews.kz; Kazinform.kz