Born: United Kingdom
Primarily active in: United States of America
Alexander Klemin was born on May 15, 1888, in London, England. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors from London University in 1909. After graduation in 1909, he gained experience teaching in London and in preparing candidates for degrees who went up for the examinations of the University of London. He also had an Associate Diploma of the City and Guilds College from London’s Imperial College.
Klemin immigrated to the United States in 1914, taking the first American course in aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and receiving a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering in June 1915; he then began to teach, while also serving as a contributor and technical editor of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering magazine. Based on his lectures at MIT, assisted by Thomas H. Huff, he published a series of articles in the magazine which were collectively published in October 1918 as the Textbook of Aeronautical Engineering, with contributions by his assistant Thomas H. Huff.
By 1917 he had become the head of the MIT Aeronautics Department, a US citizen, and a First Lieutenant and the Officer-in-Charge of the Army Air Service Research Department at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio (now part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). While at McCook, Klemin would fly and shout to others above the drone of the engine to compare theory with field observation. He was considered a heavy-handed pilot and as a result, his landings were a source of amusement to the McCook Field personnel.
In 1919, Alexander Klemin joined New York University (NYU), teaching their first aeronautics course. In addition, Klemin and Charles Cox founded the Cox-Klemin Aircraft Corporation in Long Island, New York in 1921. The company produced more than a dozen prototype or limited-series aircraft including the water-cooled Cox-Klemin TW-2 Trainer, the Night Hawk mail plane, the XA-1 Air Ambulance, and the XS-1 Portable Reconnaissance Biplane. One XS prototype was modified into the XS-2, becoming the first aircraft launched and recovered from a submarine. Despite designing the first amphibian landing gear used in the United States on a flying boat, and winning Army and Navy airplane design competitions in 1921, Klemin left Cox-Klemin in January 1922 to teach full time at NYU. (The company folded in 1925.)
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