Peter Maksimovich Ostapenko was born in Prokhladny town of Kabardino-Balkariya. He served in the Army from 1947. In 1951 he graduated from Armavir high military aviation pilot school. After graduation appointed there as pilot-instructor (till 1957). In 1958 graduated from Test-pilot school and in 1967 graduated from MAI.
Between 1958 -1983 he worked as test-pilot and since 1983 as leading engineer at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. Tested sixty four plane types. Tested MiG-21U(E-6U), MiG-25P(E-155P) fighters,MiG-21PD(23-31) and MiG-23PD (23-01) prototypes from their first flights. He took part in testing MiG-19, MiG-21,E-152A, E-152, MiG-23, MiG-27, MiG-29 and MiG-31 aircraft. Set eight world records (one from them is absolute).
State Premium of USSR (1981). Awarded with Lenin Order, Order of Red Banner, Order of Labor Red Banner, Order of Red Star, medals. Awarded with Medal de Lavo (FAI) (1963).