beginning of 1931, two former subjects of Tsar Nicolas II established
the Seversky Aircraft Corporation in Long Island New York. Major
Alexander Prokofieff de Seversky (1894 - 1974) was the general
manager. He came from an old Russian aristocratic family and he
had distinguished himself as a pilot during the First World War.
With his right leg amputated as a result of a crash during one
of his first missions, he nevertheless kept on flying with an
artificial leg, and even reached the enviable ace status with
13 victories achieved over German planes on the Baltic front.
In 1917, Alexander de Seversky was appointed chief- assistant
of the Russian aeronautic department in the USA. He left this
position the following year because of a disagreement with the
Bolsheviks and he offered his services to the US government. After
being promoted to the rank of major, Seversky was put in charge
of a test pilot program and inspector of aeronautic production.
In 1927, Seversky obtained his American citizenship.
The Seversky Aircraft Corporation chief engineer was Alexander
Kartveli (1896 - 1974), born in Tiflis (Georgia). He had been
sent to Paris by his government to perfect his knowledge of artillery.
When his native land was overcome with the Bolshevik revolution,
this air enthusiast (who was also an excellent gymnast), entered
the "Ecole Supérieure d'Aéronautique" in Paris.
To support himself, he gave private lessons in mathematics, and
performed as a trapeze artist in a circus during the evening.
After graduation, Kartveli worked for a while at the Blériot Company.
In 1927, he came to New York, following Charles Levine, a wealthy
and eccentric American who dreamed to build a transatlantic transport
plane. Levine's projects having failed, Kartveli joined the
Fokker American Company in 1928. Three years later, while this
company was going bankrupt, Alexander Kartveli met Alexander de
Seversky professed original ideas in the field of aircraft construction,
believing that certain components could easily be standardized:
wings, fuselage elements, undercarriage, etc. so that a basic
design could be easily adapted to the civilian or military needs
of the customers. That's how, the designs evolved from the
SEV-3, the first aircraft built by the firm in 1933, which was
a light three seats transport monoplane, fitted with a radial
engine and fixed undercarriage. All others Seversky's airplanes,
including the P-35 and its non-military variants were derived
from the SEV-3.
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