Alexander Seversky
Alexander Seversky
Alexander Nikolaivich Prokofiev Seversky
  • Country: Russia
  • Rank: Kapitan 2 Ranga
  • Service: Imperial Russian Air Service
  • Units: 2nd Naval Fighter Detachment, Baltic Fleet
  • Victories: 6
  • Date Of Birth: June 7, 1894
  • Place of Birth: Tiflis, Georgia
  • Date Of Death: 1974
  • Place of Death: USA

Alexander Seversky's father was one of the first Russian aviators to own a plane. At age 14, when he entered the Imperial Russian Naval Academy, Seversky already knew how to fly. Graduating in 1914, he was serving at sea when the war began. Requesting a transfer to aviation, he was reassigned to the Baltic Fleet as a pilot in the summer of 1915. While stationed in the Gulf of Riga, he attacked a German destroyer but was shot down before he could drop his bombs. When his plane crashed, the bombs exploded, badly wounding Seversky's and killing his observer. Doctors amputated Seversky's leg below the knee. Recovering from his wounds and sporting a new wooden leg, he was deemed unfit for front line duty. To prove his superiors wrong, he made a spectacular but unauthorized flight at an air show and was promptly arrested for his efforts. The Czar intervened on his behalf and in July of 1916, Seversky returned to combat duty, downing his first enemy plane three days later and scoring 3 more victories in August.

In February of 1917, he assumed command of the 2nd Naval Fighter Detachment until an accident with a horse drawn wagon broke his good leg. After serving as an advisor in Moscow, Seversky returned to combat duty in the Gulf of Riga and received confirmation for 2 more of his victories. On October 14, he was forced down in enemy territory but made it back to the safety of his own lines. In March of 1918, Seversky arrived in the United States to serve as assistant naval attaché at the Russian Embassy. Due to the revolution, he never returned home, choosing to become an American citizen in 1927 and founding the Seversky Aircraft Corporation of Farmingdale, Long Island in 1931.

Two years later, his company developed the SEV-3, an amphibious, all-metal, three man, monoplane with a low-mounted cantilever wing. On September 15, 1935, at a speed of 230.413 mph, the original SEV-3 set a world speed record for piston-engined amphibious airplanes that has never been broken. Seversky also developed a turbo-supercharged, air-cooled fighter plane that served as the protoype for the P-47. In April of 1939, Seversky was out of the country on business when the company's board of directors voted him out of office as CEO and changed the name of the firm to Republic. He spent the remainder of his life working as an aeronautical writer and consultant and was awarded the Medal for Merit by President Harry Truman. The year he died, Seversky was elected to the Aviation Hall of Fame.