“It is possible with reasonable advancement of our knowledge to go beyond the moon to Venus and Mars. Provided we retain enthusiasm, enterprise and daring.”- Alexander Kartveli , 1958.
On November 17th, Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia hosted an exhibition entirely dedicated to the biggest aircraft engineer, Alexander Kartveli. The exhibition presented life and works of the greatest innovators in the history of aviation, Georgian emigrant and aircraft constructor Alexander Kartveli (Kartvelishvili /1896-1974/). Furthermore, there were sketches and drawings, his aircraft models, archival material, documents, articles, photos, multimedia projections and more.
Visitors will be surprised by the diversity of the forms and details which accompanies the works of this person. He not only created the paintings of technical accuracy, but also performed every model with a very elegant design. All of them felt a special approach, professionalism and uniqueness, which makes Alexander Kartveli so distinguished from other people working in this field.
Kartvelishvili was born in the family of a famous figure, lawyer Mikhail Kartvelishvili. In 1914 he graduated from Tbilisi Royal Gymnasium, 1917 – Cadets School, where he first became interested in gymnastics, aviation and even joined the aeronautics club. In 1917, during the First World War he became the battery commander of the army. Wounded in the leg, he returned from the war with lieutenant’s rank.
“The time is coming when, imagination, backed by science and research, will become the most important value.”- Alexander Kartveli, 1960
In 1919, the independent government sent Kartvelishvili to France for study purposes. Alexander graduated from Paris Aviation Higher College of Engineering in 1922, and for the following five years was working for Louis Bleriot aircraft company of examiners and took part in creating “Bernard” – and “Ferbois”. In 1927, the aircraft “Bernar-Ferbua V-2” set a world record speed. In 1927, American millionaire and philanthropist Charles Levin invited Kartvelishvili to New York. They together created an aircraft called “Uncle Sam”.In 1928, Kartvelishvili started work at a well-known company “Fokker American Company”. In 1931 he met Alexander Seversky, who was the president and chief engineer of “Seversky Aircraft Corporation”. Those models created in this corporation became the predecessors of Kartvelishvili’s famous fighter air crafts. In 1939 the company changed its name and was called “Republic Avia corporation”. Kartvelishvili was appointed vice president and chief engineer. This time he was already a world-renowned aircraft designer. Tbilisi duet became the main inspirer of American Air Force during World War II. Their joint work resulted in one of the most successful Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt”, which served as the main US aircraft throughout the Second World War and it also played a great role in the victory over Germany. Similar success awaited his other aircrafts. Al. Kartvelishvili’s aircrafts are the possession of the US aviation history: American F-84 “Thunderjet”, Republic F-105 “Thunderchif” and the Republic F-84.
“See, right now we are beginning of astronautics. We are flying satellites and its doesn’t matter, they fly so many months or so many years and then they burn and disappear. But when we fly people finally- after all, the purpose any kind of flying is to transport human beings- the instrument flight is all right, but unless men goes there and puts his foot on the moon or elsewhere, the problem is not solved.”- Alexander Kartveli , 1960.
Aleksander Kartveli brought about significant changes in the field of military aviation, and became one of those figures whose influence was significantly beyond the scope of their core activities. Enthusiastic inventor has broken all previous limitations. Aircraft A-10 created with his design is still considered as the most effective fighter aircraft of American aviation.
Due to the fact that Kartveli was actively involved in the US military activities, his life for a long time was mystified because of spying, kidnapping and liquidation threats. Only after this “secret” was removed, materials became available from the archives of Smithsonian Institute and NASA, so the public learned of his most important contributions during World War II.
For the contribution in the fields of avia construction and aeronautics, the Georgian engineer received US National Medal of Science. He was a chosen member of many international aviation communities and also an honorary member of the US Academy of Engineering. Al. Kartvelishvilihas not left a heir. His nephew is a famous artist – Dimitri Eristavi.
The exhibition will last until May 1st, 2016.
LIST OF KNOWN PROJECTS
Ferbois aircraft Seversky P-35
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
Republic F-84 Thunderjet
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
Republic F-105 Thunderchief
Republic P-43 Lancer
Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II
Author: Nanuka Zaalishvili
English edit: Nutsa Namoradze
Source: Wikipedia, www.nplg.gov.ge