Vladimir Gorbunov was born in Viatskiye Poliany town of Kirov Region. He studied in MAI, joining the Army in 1965. In 1968 he graduated from Kachinskoye high military aviation pilot school. Served in Air Force front-line units till 1973. In 1974 graduated from Test-pilot training center. Graduated from MAI in 1978.
In 1974-1982 worked as test-pilot at Chief Committee of Science Research Institute of Air Force. In 1982-1991 worked as test-pilot at Flight Research Institute (FRI).
In 1991 he started to work as test-pilot at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. After starting work there he tested more than 70 planes and helicopters types. Took part in testing MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, Mig-29, MiG-AT.
Awarded with Order of Courage, two Orders of Red Star, medals. Awarded also with Prize of International Fund of flight safety after recovery from emergency situation at testing MiG-31.