Boris Sergievsky was one of the most colorful of the early aviators. He made his first flight less than ten years after the Wright brothers made theirs; he made his last only four years before the Concorde took off. Born in Russia, Sergievsky learned to fly in 1912. In World War I, he became a much-decorated infantry officer and then a fighter pilot, battling the Austro-Hungarians. During the Russian Civil War that followed, he fought on three fronts against the Bolsheviks.
Coming to America in 1923, the first job he could find in New York was with a pick and shovel, digging the Holland Tunnel, but he soon joined Igor Sikorsky’s airplane company. Over the next decade as chief test pilot for the company, he tested the Sikorsky flying boats that Pan American Airways used to establish its world-wide routes, setting seventeen world aviation records along the way.
Sergievsky also flew pioneering flights across unchartered African and Latin American jungles in the 1930s, flew with Charles Lindbergh, tested early helicopters and jets, and flew his own Grumman Mallard on charter flights until 1965. Through it all, his sense of humor remained intact, as did his passion for beautiful women.