"Flying in the sky - is this a woman's business?" Our heroine`s mother asked anxiously in the heart, who could expect everything from her restless daughter, but not that. Women in Azerbaijan, except Leila Mamedbekova- who wouldn’t be allowed to the front, did not used to fly, let alone ... female participation in aviation was newly appearing in the entire Soviet Union.
When an airplane flies over a sensitive girl for the first time, she, recalling her first impressions, will imagine someone "brave". It was impossible for a girl to dream about iron wings, but our Zulia, as her friends and colleagues called her, has never wanted an ordinary life. The house, family and kitchen were the worst scenario she could ever imagine. "I want and will build my future," she thought, and thinking is a very dangerous thing.
Moscow was not built in a day. Zuleikha became an engineering student. Higher mathematics, geometric problems and other boredom…Only her love for height and speed did not leave her alone, she would often recall the first flight she had experienced- which she called a "miracle". Once she was taken to an excursion to and aerodrome, back then when she was at school. Ah, this roar of motors and flights in the sky! No one left that place without impression. The decision was taken: we should create our student "air fleet". Enthusiasts gathered together, the authorities lent a helping hand, and on January 6, 1934, the club was opened with a purchased U-2 airplane, three gliders and two parachutes. At first it did not work out very well, the lessons were only theoretical, no practice, and no one canceled the studies at the university.
In July, she was to go to the camp, where for the first time as the youngest and smallest of the group, she would take the helm of the plane into her own hands. In October she was already flying by herself.
Is it possibly to be a pilot without a parachute? Imagine her mother who barely accepted that her daughter was riding airplanes; now that daughter of hers wants to "jump from airplanes". But of course, none could stop Zuleikha. She used to fly, jump with a parachute, represent Azerbaijan and Transcaucasia at all-union competitions, collecting medals and awards. And that was it; she is an instructor, and even her physics teacher is enrolled to her classes as a pupil. Fate changed their places.
Starting from 1936, Zulia began to make flights not only for educational purposes. The locusts were attacking from Iran, and she, along with others, helped to the agricultural aviation. After some time, she started hovering over the flames of Baku nights. In the future, flying over the darkened cities, protecting them from Nazi bombing, her heart was going to pine even more for her native city.
Prior to that point, she needed to become a professional pilot. She- as an exception- got admitted to the Air Force Academy named after N.E. Zhukovsky, and was awarded the deputy mandate of the Moscow Soviet, as well as rank of junior lieutenant, and then all the radio stations of the Union will promptly hand over: "The treacherous attack by the German fascists ..."
She passed the way from a pilot of the Baku aeroclub to the navigator of the female fighter air regiment, which was formed by herself; flew over Moscow, Saratov, Voronezh and other cities of the immense Union; participated in the Battle of the Kursk Bulge and fought under Korsun-Shevchenko; she had more than 500 sorties, dozens of students and no fewer friends whom she lost on the battlefield ...
After the war, she was appointed as the Minister of Social Security of the AzSSR, and she served in this position for 25 years. Not only represented she Azerbaijan in the international arena, but also hosted honorable foreign delegations in our country. Zuleika khanum left only when her health got detoriated. All this time she selflessly and modestly served this country and its people.
"One of those who created the military history of the country" - these words were devoted to her by Heydar Aliyev in the farewell obituary.
Text: Arzu Jaid