A graduate of the Kursk gymnasium, he fought in the Civil War until the sky invited him. He graduated from the Moscow Higher School of Technology, studied under Tupolev at aviation universities and started his independent work. Rumor has it, when Stalin was informed that his LaGG fighter was made from plywood, he called Lavochkin and Semyon Alekseyevich arrived with a piece of the aircraft body. Stalin threw hot ashes from his pipe and started a lengthy conversation about aviation problems. To his astonishment, there was no hole in the part and he could not make one with a knife either. A miraculous material turned out to be molded impregnated wood initially intended for the non-inflammable furniture and the Palace of the Soviets, which was not built after all.
The aircraft designer had excellent fighters. Every third fighter of the Great Patriotic War was Lavochkin’s. All the Soviet aces, including Kozhedub, flew them. In 1948, La-176 was the first plane in the Soviet Union to take the sonic barrier and Semyon Alexeyevich’s hypersonic aircrafts were way ahead of their time – they could be compared to space shuttles only. Too bad they were in the shadow of the Korolev rockets.