Sergei Ilyushin, the leading Soviet aircraft designer, was born on March 31, 1894 into a peasant family in the settlement of Dilyalevo, District of Vologda. His parents had troubles making ends meet, and Sergei started working at the age of 15. In autumn 1913 the 16-year-old lad moved to St.Petersburg. A lucky coincidence brought him to the St.Petersburg airfield where he was assigned the task of cleaning up and levelling off the runways.
The airfield was then playing host to Russia’s first-ever aviation week. That was a landmark event in Sergei’s life. He enrolled in the local pilot-training school and in 1917 made his first flight. Thinking about designing his own aircraft Sergei Ilyushin entered the Air Force Academy and successfully passed graduation exams.
When World War II unleashed, Sergei Ilyushin was put at the head of a design bureau at one of the Russian plane building factories. Ilyuyshin’s first plane, a long-range bomber, was taken up by the army. Soon afterwards Ilyushin designed his famous IL 2 ground attack plane that the Soviet Army soldiers called a "flying tank" and the Germans nicknamed as "black death". After the war the outstanding aircraft designer launched comfortable passenger planes. Over the course of his career, Ilyuyshin designed 55 aircraft.
Sergei Ilyushin was the recipient of numerous state awards and three gold stars of Hero of Socialist labour.