SOCIETY
US hosts series of events in honor of eminent Georgian aircraft engineer Alexander Kartveli
10 May, 2018
The Embassy of Georgia in United States in cooperation with Alexander Kartveli Association presents Alexander Kartveli STEM Speaker Series - various events dedicated to renowned Georgian aircraft engineer Alexander Kartveli, born Alexander Kartvelishvili. The cycle of the events is aimed at raising public awareness about him.

The speaker series commemorates the life and work of Alexander Kartveli – a Georgian born aviation designer, entrepreneur and innovator. Using Kartveli’s own life story to inspire and create interest in
the STEM disciplines, the Embassy and the Kartveli Association will host a series of speakers throughout 2018 on trending STEM themes including technology and innovation.

It is noteworthy that in early February 2018, the Alexander Kartveli Association opened the Kartveli Learning Center at the Embassy of Georgia in Washington DC.

The cycle of the events dedicated to Alexander Kartveli was opened on May 9 by Georgia's ambassador to the United States David Bakradze, who stressed the importance of sending Georgian song Chakrulo in space by NASA on 20 August 1977.
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Alexander Kartveli

The president of Alexander Kartveli Association Richard Rubin addressed the guests. He spoke about great Georgian aircraft engineer’s life and career.

John Casani, famous engineer of NASA, who has been working on various space missions for over 50 years, also addressed the audience. While delivering a speech, he talked about his missions and various projects implemented by NASA.
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Kartveli with unidentified P47 pilot, 1940-1947

Georgian born aviator Alexander Kartvelishvili (September 9, 1896 – June 20, 1974) is considered an influential aircraft engineer and a pioneer in American aviation history.

Kartveli achieved important breakthroughs in military aviation in the time of turbojet fighters. He is considered to be one of the most important and innovative aircraft designers in US history and the world.
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Planes designed by Alexander Kartveli. Researched by Ramaz Bluashvili

Alexander Kartvelishvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, into a noble Georgian family. As Georgians call themselves "kartvelebi", his surname derives from "Kartveli", or Georgian.

He escaped to the West to avoid the Bolsheviks.
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Kartveli in the center

Kartveli graduated from the grammar school in Tbilisi in 1914. Later on, he decided to move to France, as one of several aviation engineer aspirants of Georgian origin, such as Michael Gregor.
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Kartveli at the meeting

Kartvelishvili graduated in 1922 from the Highest School of Aviation in Paris. He began working as test pilot but was seriously injured during a test flight which ended the short-lived career. In 1922–1927, he worked for a while at the Louis Blériot company and designed the Bernard and Ferbois aircraft. In 1924, one of his aircraft established a world speed record.

In 1927, the American millionaire Charles Levine invited Kartvelishvili to New York, to join the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in 1928 and in 1931 Kartvelishvili met the prominent engineer Alexander de Seversky, who was born in Georgia but was of Russian descent. In his little company which later was renamed to Seversky Aircraft Corporation, Kartvelishvili worked as chief engineer.
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In 1927, the American millionaire Charles Levine invited Kartvelishvili to New York

In 1939 the company again changed its name to "Republic Aviation Company".

Together with another well-known engineer Alexander Seversky, Kartveli designed several planes, with one of them, the Republic P-47, becoming the workhorse of the U.S. Air Force in the last years of World War II.

Since Kartvelishvili's work made him engaged in military affairs, he was for many years shielded from the public and information about his work and personality were classified, as there was a general threat from espionage and assassination or kidnapping of scientists and engineers. This situation did not change until after his death.
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Alexander Kartveli (second from left) receiving an award for his design of the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter jet

Just recently, NASA archives revealed a certain amount of data about his persona and works on requests from Georgian authorities. His identity was unknown to nearly everyone outside his workplace and in military archives.

Alexander Kartvelishvili passed away on June 20, 1974, under yet unknown circumstances in New York.
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Alexander Kartvelishvili passed away on June 20, 1974, under yet unknown circumstances in New York

For his achievements in aircraft design and aeronautics, the Georgian engineer was awarded with U.S. National Medal of Science. He was also granted the title of an honorary member of U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

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Alexander Kartveli – A Pioneer of American Aviation

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