Seversky
 
P-35
 

Alexander Nikolaievich Prokofiev de Seversky (June 7, 1894 – August 24, 1974) was a Russian-American aviation pioneer, inventor, and influential advocate of strategic air power.  In 1927, Seversky became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Using the $50,000 from the sale of his bombsight to the U. S. Government, Seversky founded the Seversky Aero Corporation in 1923.  Concentrating on making aircraft parts and instruments, the small company was unable to survive the stock market crash of 1929. On February 16, 1931, with the backing of Wall Street millionaire Edward Moore and other investors, he resurrected the enterprise as the new Seversky Aircraft Corporation in Long Island, New York.  Moving into the former EDO Corporation's float plane factory at College Point, Long Island, Seversky's patents were the primary assets of the new company. Resolved to invest in research and design rather than relying on licence-manufacturing, many of Seversky Aircraft's designers were Russian and Georgian engineers, including Chief Engineer Michael Gregor and Alexander Kartveli. Along with Seversky, the designers embarked on an advanced all-metal, multi-place monoplane amphibian, the SEV-3. This ground-breaking design would go on to set numerous speed records at the 1933–1939 National Air Races, often piloted by Seversky himself, who was the company's greatest "pitchman". On September 15, 1935, flying at a speed just over 230 mph, Seversky set a world speed record for piston-engine amphibious aircraft.  Seversky also set a transcontinental speed record in 1938.

The SEV-3 was eventually the progenitor of a family of advanced aircraft including the SEV-3XLR and 2-XP (two-place, experimental) fighter, the BT-8 trainer and SEV-1P (single-seat) fighter. The most radical conversion occurred when the fixed-gear SEV-1P was fitted with a rearward retracting main undercarriage to produce the prototype of the successful P-35A fighter series. The Seversky Aircraft design office led by Seversky was responsible for 25 different innovative projects, many of them "still-born" including the "Seversky Super-Clipper", an eight-engine, 250 ft span transoceanic transport and the four-place, tricycle gear "Seversky Executive" high speed personal aircraft.  The Sev-S2, virtually identical to the P-35, which was undergoing trials in 1937, dominated the last three Bendix Trophy air races, beginning in 1937 when Frank Fuller won at an average speed of 415.51 km/h.

The Seversky Aircraft Company began operating out of new facilities in Long Island in 1936, purchasing three factories, a flying field and hangar along with a seaplane assembly base at Famingdale and Amityville, Long Island.  Despite landing several government contracts, Seversky Aircraft was never able to turn a profit under Seversky's management and by September 1938, the company had to be bailed out again by Paul Moore (Edward's brother and heir). His financing of a rescue came with the proviso that Seversky, as President, would have his personal budget cut, while the Board of Directors transferred more power to Managing Director Wallace Kellett. A controversial contract Seversky negotiated in secret with the Japanese for 20 SEV-2PA-B3 fighters created antagonism with the War Department, leading inevitably to the U.S. government putting pressure on the USAAC to limit the P-35 order to the initial batch of 76 aircraft.

When Seversky left for Europe on a sales tour in the winter of 1938–39, the Board reorganized the operation on October 13, 1939, renamed as Republic Aviation Corporation with Kellett becoming the new president. Seversky sued for redress but while legal actions dragged on, the Board of Directors voted him out of the company he had created. Republic Aviation would become an industrial behemoth during World War II designing and producing the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and in postwar years, a continuing line of successful fighter aircraft before being acquired by Fairchild in 1965.

Source: Wikipedia