Pavel Belyayev was one of 6 children and was known as Pasha to his family and friends. He was born on June 26, 1925, in Chelishchevo, in what is now Babushkinsky District, Vologda Oblast. In 1932 his family moved to the nearby village of Minkovo. His father was a physician's assistant and his mother worked on a collective farm. Belyayev began his schooling at the age of 7 in 1932. Physics and geography were his favourite subjects. As a boy he enjoyed playing hockey and hunting. Just before his 13th birthday the family moved to Kamensk-Uralsky region. He continued his education at the Gorkogo secondary school.
In 1942, Belyayev took on temporary work as a turner in a factory and later became a check operator in the Sinarsk pipes factory in support of the war effort. He applied to the special air force school in Sverdlovsk but failed to gain admission. He then attempted to join a fighting ski unit as a volunteer, but was again rejected because he was too young. In 1943, just prior to turning 18, he was called up. He then entered the 3rd Sarapul School where he began training as a naval pilot. He graduated in 1944 and then moved to the Stalin Naval Air School.
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