Person/Organisation NameConstantinovitch de Bolotoff; Serge Vincent (1888-1955); Prince; Aviation pinoeer
SurnameConstantinovitch de Bolotoff
ForenamesSerge Vincent
Dates1888-1955
EpithetAviation pinoeer
ActivityEldest son of the Russian Princess Marie Wiasemsky and Constantine de Bolotoff, a London proprietor. He claimed to be the fifth man to fly a powered aircraft, this is unproven. His first aircraft was an immense triplane, built to his specfication by Gabriel Voisin in 1908. However even though it was equipped with a 100 hp Panhard-Levasseur engine, it never flew beyond the field at Mourmelon (or Châlons). By 1912, de Bolotoff and his mother had relocated toUpper Norwood, England. There the Prince is reported to have been engaged, in the highest secrecy, in the construction of a biplane at their residence. There is no record of the aeroplane existing - or, at least, being completed and made public. In 1913 de Bolotoff was living at Reigate Priory, Kenot or Surrey. It is thought he built 'a large Goupy type triplane' at Brooklands. It was blown over during taxiing trials, was damaged and abandoned. Some sources say that this was the same triplane as was constructed for de Bolotoff by Voisin in France and that it was brought to Britain by boat. In the same year de Bolotoff went into partnership with Robert Mond, a German born industrialist. His residence was Combe Bank, near Sevenoaks. Within the grounds of the house he established a flying field and erected several flight sheds. It is said that for a period of five years, Voisin type biplanes were constructed at and flown from the field at Combe Bank. However there seems to be no record of how many aeroplanes were constructed here and it's worthy of note that, presumably, for four of the five year production period Britain was at war, a time in which aeroplane design evolved rapidly, so that Voisin type biplanes are likely to have been decidely antiquated by 1918.

On 8 August 1918 de Bolotoff married into the Selfridge family. He married Rosalie Dorothea Buckingham Selfridge (1893-1977), the eldest daughter of Gordon Selfridge, the founder of the department store. Their reception was held at Combe Bank. Rosalie and Serge were the parents of Tatiana Rose Mariede Bolotoff (1919-1998), Princess Tatiana Wiasemsky. Tatiana was married in 1943 to Craig Wheaton-Smith (1917-2002) and had three children.

It is said that de Bolotoff and Mond had not exactly achieved financial success from their aircraft production enterprise during the five years from 1913. It appears that this was funded principally by Mond and that the pressure on him was such that, in 1918, they needed something more modern than the Voisin type biplane to succeed in postwar aviation. Thus in 1918 de Bolotoff set to designing a two seat general utility biplane, the de Bolotoff SDEB 14. Powered by a 200 hp 8 cylinder water cooled Curtiss engine, the aeroplane was constructed at Combe Bank, being completed in 1919. It was registered G-EAKC on 14 August 1919. One must assume that it was not a success for the de Bolotoff Aeroplane Works constructed only one SDEB 14. Not long thereafter thede Bolotoff company collapsed with heavy debts and Mond severed his relationship with de Bolotoff. He appears to have given up aviation and little is known of him after 1920. The date of his death is not entirely certain but there is reference to this having been registered in the fourth quarter of 1955 in the Surrey North Eastern Registration District. There are some suggestions that he died in poverty.

De Bolotoff SDEB 14, from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 - Volume 3:
Two-seat utility biplane designed by Prince Serge de Bolotoff and one example was built at his de Bolotoff Aeroplane Works at Sundridge Aerodrome, Sundridge, near Sevenoaks, Kent. It was registered G-EAKC on 14 August 1919. The SDEB 14 was powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Curtiss V-3 V-8 water-cooled piston engine. Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.98 m). Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss V-3 V-8 water-cooled piston engine, 200 hp (149 kW).

NB until circa 1920 known as Serge Vincent de Bolotoff and thereafter as Serge Vincent Constantinovitch,Prince Wiazemsky [Viazemsky].
RelationshipsWife's photograph http://www.geni.com/people/Rosalie-de-Bolotoff-Selfridge-Princess-Wiasemsky/6000000004108800357
CodeIME222
Catalogue
RefNoTitle
PER/106/1/4/14Scientific Measuring Instruments of the Mirror Type
PER/106/1/4/6Steam Hammer
PER/106/3Photographs
PER/106/1/3Italy
PER/106/1/2Belgium
PER/106/1/4/13Fluid-Stream-Direction Indicators and Recorders
PER/106/1/4/2Hydrocraft Planing Surfaces
PER/106/1/4/10Means for Discharging Bombs from Aircraft
PER/106/1/4/7Pile-driver Plant
PER/106/1/4/4Silencers for Internal-combustion Engines
PER/106/1/4/3Valves
PER/106/1/4/8Liquid-stream-direction Indicators/Recorders
PER/106/1/4/9Extensible Walls, Shutters, Partitions and like Closures
PER/106/1/4/11Sound Reducing Windows, Fanlights, Roof Lights and the like
PER/106/1Patent papers
PER/106/3/2De Bolotoff SDEB 14
PER/106/1/1France
PER/106/2/1Perfect Steering Company papers
PER/106/3/4Gliding
PER/106/3/6Triplane: Brooklands (?)
PER/106/3/3Triplan: France
PER/106/3/1Family photographs
PER/106/4Business and personal papers
PER/106/1/4/16"Boult, Wade & Tennant"
PER/106/2/2Multi-Steering Company papers
PER/106/1/4Great Britain
PER/106/1/4/5Motor Units for Bicylces, Tricycles and similar
PER/106/1/4/12Balloon Barrage Apparatus
PER/106/1/4/1Explosion Engines...
PER/106/3/5Portraits
PER/106Serge Vincent de Bolotoff, Prince Wiazemsky/Viazemsky
PER/106/2Business papers
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