"In the summer of 1934, pilot Sergievsky began to dictate the memoirs of his "vital, turbulent" life. Born in czarist Russia, the rakish Sergievsky served both as an infantry officer and a fighter pilot in WWI. After the Bolshevik revolution, he fought in the White Army before emigrating to the U.S. in 1923 and eventually becoming the chief test pilot for the Sikorsky aircraft company. Intended for quick publication, these memoirs instead occupied a desk drawer for more than 35 years, until Sergievsky's death, and were then published in Russian as part of a memorial booklet given to the aviator's friends in the New York emigre community. . . . . Liberally illustrated with period photos, this memoir will attract military, aviation and history buffs and anyone interested in reading about a lustily lived—and somewhat charmed—life amid the perils of the 20th century."—Publishers Weekly
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.
Allan Forsyth worked for many years as an editor for various college textbook publishers before becoming a freelance writer and editor. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, he has edited several books about aviation history and twentieth-century history.
Adam Hochschild is a reporter, writer, and editor who was co-founder of Mother Jones magazine. His books include The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin and Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son.
8 x 9, 0 pages, 48 black and white illustrations