Alexander Kartveli: How a Georgian man shaped world aviation

15 Jul 2015 - 13:25

  • Space shuttle draft project designed by Alexander Kartveli for NASA. Image by, 15 Jul 2015 - 13:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian National Museum will host an exhibition dedicated to late Georgian aircraft designer Alexander Kartveli with a display of several aircraft mock-ups as well as photographs and a multimedia show to portray Kartveli’s life and his "enduring legacy” in aircraft design.

Museum director David Lordkipanidze and Alexander Kartveli Association chairman Richard Evan Rubin signed a Memorandum of Cooperation last week that outlined the exhibition will be held in November at the Simon Janashia Museum, part of the National Museum network.

Famous Georgian aviation designer Alexander Kartveli (1896-1974) at his desk. Photo by

Alexander Kartveli emigrated from Georgia to Europe at the beginning of the 1920s and studied at the Highest School of Aviation in Paris, graduating in 1922 before designing a number of aircraft for French aviator Louis Blériot, with one of his designs establishing a world speed record in 1924.

The Georgian engineer was then invited to New York by American entrepreneur Charles Levine to work at the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation. While in the United States (US) Kartveli met well-known aircraft designer Alexander de Seversky and later worked as chief engineer at de Seversky’s Republic Aviation Company.

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, designed by Alexander Kartveli. Photo by

While working there Kartveli designed the famous P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft that saw prominent service in the United States Army Air Force (USAAF – later renamed USAF) during World War II. The Georgian engineer also designed a number of other military aircraft, including leading the project for the A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support aircraft, which is still in service for the USAF.

As well as aircraft design, Kartveli also worked as an adviser to NASA. Widely recognised as a pioneer of American aircraft design, his work in the US has come under increased public attention in Georgia in recent years, with the Ministry of Defence holding a number of formal events to mark Kartveli’s legacy, including in the context of Georgian-American relations.

The Kartveli exhibition will be held in November at the Simon Janashia Museum in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. Further details of the exhibition are not yet known.

Find out Kartveli's life details in video below: