Alexander Mozhaiski, the son of a naval officer, he was born in March, 1825 in Rochensalm, Russia (now Finland). After attending the Naval Cadet School he served in the navy from 1841 to 1862.
In the 1860's Mozhaiski began designing a flying machine. He based his design on the structure of birds' wings. He also studied air kites. During this period Mozhaiski received financial aid from the Military Ministry for his research.
In 1878 this funding was withdrawn and Mozhaiski had to proceed on his own. On 3rd November, 1881 he received the patent for his invention. It was a monoplane with a large tractor propeller, and two small pusher propellers, driven by a steam engine.
Mozhaiski's aeroplane made its maiden flight at Krasnoye Selo in 1884. It was launched from a ramp and flew for 98 feet (29.87 m).
He died in St. Petersburg on 20th March, 1890.