Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik

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Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik 1914 with Otto C.I aircraft parked outside the hangar

Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik, founded in 1910 by Gustav Otto, was one of the pioneering aircraft producers at the turn of the 20th century. It was reorganized into Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, which was merged into BMW AG in 1922.


In 1910, Gustav Otto founded the "Aeroplanbau Otto-Alberti" workshop at the Puchheim airfield, where Gustav, along with a few others, flew machines made of wood, wire, and canvas and were powered by an engine.[1] Through their passion for these flying machines, they helped transform aviation from a do-it-yourself hobby to a genuine industry vital to the military, especially after the breakout of World War I. Ernst Udet, the second highest scoring German flying ace of World War I (second only to the Red Baron), earned his pilots license from private training with Gustav during this time.[2]

Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik[edit]

In 1911 Gustav moved the company and renamed it "Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik". The official entry appears as No. 14/364: "Gustav Otto in Munich, flying machine factory, office at 72 Karlstrasse." Shortly afterwards, Otto moved the workshop from its original location at 37 Gabelsberger Strasse to new premises at 135 Schleissheimer Strasse.

Biplane produced by Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik in 1914

In 1914 construction started on a new factory at 76 Neulerchenfeldstrasse (later Lerchenauer Straße). Gustav moved the company to the new factory on Lerchenauer Strasse just east of the Oberwiesenfeld troop maneuver area in the Milbertshofen district of Munich, later to become the site of Munich's first airport.[1] He wanted to be closer to the German government's procurement process for military sale. In 1915, the company is again renamed to "Otto Werke, Gustav Otto, München".[3] Shortly thereafter, Otto established another company named AGO Flugzeugwerke at Berlin's Johannisthal Air Field.

While the designs by Gustav Otto were initially successful, he was continually experiencing problems related to cost-effective production, as well as generating profits. At the start of the war, Otto Werke was supplying the German Air Force, but as the war progressed so did production problems. Eventually, the government agencies urged the company to nationalize its production. The stress of wartime and ongoing financial problems with the company proved too great a burden for Gustav, who suffered health issues. At the insistence of the Bavarian and Prussian War Ministries (and in particular the Inspectors of the Engineering Corps) the unprofitable aircraft manufacturer was taken over by the German Government, and Gustav Otto was forced to resign from his company. A consortium of banks took over the assets of the company.[citation needed] Otto Werke was reorganized into Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG on 7 March 1916. [4]

In the summer of 1916 thirteen Otto C.I twin-boom aircraft were delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Gustav Otto". BMW Group Archive. Retrieved 2012-01-08. Functions at BMW: Has founded the "Aeroplanbau Otto-Alberti" workshop at the Puchheim airfield which was renamed in "Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik" on 15.03.1911. It moved shortly afterwards to the Schleissheimer Strasse in Munich. In 1914 work began on new premises at the Oberwiesenfeld, a site that was then over by the Bayrische Flugzeugwerke in 1916 and later, in 1922, purchased by BMW.
  2. ^ Browne, O'Brien (November 1999). "Ernst Udet: The Rise and Fall of a German World War I Ace". History Net. Weider History Group.
  3. ^ Norbye, Jan P. (1984). BMW – Bavaria's Driving Machines. Skokie, IL: Publications International. p. 11. ISBN 0-517-42464-9.
  4. ^ Norbye, Jan P. (1984). BMW – Bavaria's Driving Machines. Skokie, IL: Publications International. p. 12. ISBN 0-517-42464-9.
  5. ^ Yordan Milanov: The aviation in Bulgaria in the wars from 1912 to 1945, Vol.I. Sveti Gueorgui Pobedonosetz, Sofia, 1995 (in Bulgarian)

See also[edit]

History of BMW

External links[edit]