Alexander de Seversky (1894-1974) was born in Russian Georgia and graduated from the Imperial Russian Naval Academy. He took a postgraduate course at the Military School of Aeronautics where he learned to fly on a Farman 4. During World War I, de Seversky shot down 13 German aircraft and lost his right leg during a bombing mission in 1915. After the Russian revolution he became an American citizen and worked as a test pilot and inspector for the U.S. government. In the 1930s he organized the Seversky Aircraft Corporation. De Seversky set numerous speed records during the 1930s and he is credited with playing a major role in important aviation technological breakthroughs.