After acquiring an aeronautical engineering degree, Alexander Prokofieff de Seversky was commissioned a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy of Russia in 1915. On his first combat mission he lost his right leg. Less than a year later he was back in the air, flying 57 missions, and downing 13 German aircraft to become
In 1917 de Seversky came to the
In 1930 de Seversky again made a most important contribution to his new country's air efforts in the all-metal P-43 fighter, predecessor of the historic P-47 Thunderbolt. Many of its new concepts are universally accepted construction principles for today's aircraft. Capable of speeds over 300 mph, the P-43 gave long-range and high-altitude protection to US bombers. He also developed an advanced design amphibian in which he set world speed records 1933-35, and an all-metal monoplane that set speed records at the 1933-39 Nationals, as well as a transcontinental speed record in 1938.
The outbreak of WW2 found our air arsenal pitifully neglected. To bring the magnitude of this problem to public attention, de Seversky wrote his best-seller book, "Victory Through Airpower." Also made into a movie, it awoke people to the need for better airpower. For that, and for his counsel on the strategic use of air power, he was awarded the Medal of Merit by President Truman.
By then he had become world renown as an expert in the areas of airpower and defense. His Seversky Electroatom Corp of 1952 directed its efforts to defending the