Bölkow GmbH

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Bölkow GmbH (from 1965)
legal form Company with limited liability
founding 1955 (as Bölkow Developments KG )
resolution 1968
Reason for dissolution Merger with Messerschmitt AG to form Messerschmitt-Bölkow GmbH, 1969 further merger with Hamburger Flugzeugbau GmbH to form Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)
Seat Stuttgart , later Ottobrunn , Germany
management Ludwig Bölkow
Branch Planes and helicopters

The bölkow (name since 1965) was a first in Stuttgart , later in Ottobrunn in the district Munich -based helicopter and aircraft manufacturers . In May 1968, Bölkow GmbH merged with Messerschmitt AG and in 1969 with the aircraft construction of Blohm + Voss to form Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), the then largest German aerospace company.


COBRA in the Deutsches Museum Bonn
Bölkow 209 monsoon

Ludwig Bölkow founded the engineering office Bölkow in Stuttgart in 1948 . From 1954 the anti-tank missile BO 810 COBRA was developed . In 1956 the company changed to Bölkow-Entwicklung KG at Stuttgart Airport . In 1958 the company moved to Ottobrunn. Bölkow also wanted to set up its own production. In November 1956 he rented a hall near Nabern from the gliding pioneer Wolf Hirth . Production of the Cobra and the Klemm Kl 107 aircraft began there. Since there was soon insufficient space, four halls were bought in March 1958 and the subsidiary Apparatebau Nabern GmbH was founded. This was renamed Apparatebau Bölkow GmbH in May 1960 . The final assembly of the Cobra and the development of special explosives have been carried out in a new plant in Schrobenhausen since 1958 .

Ludwig Bölkow and Emil Weiland had been developing helicopters at Bölkow Developments KG since 1955 (after the Second World War , aircraft construction was initially banned by the Allies). The company had to catch up a large development gap and was facing stiff competition. The company consistently followed the principle of developing one step ahead in order to catch up with the competition.

The aim was to find a niche in the market in which one could compete against established helicopter models. What was not yet available was a light helicopter, designed for safety, easy to maintain, easy to fly, particularly suitable for rescue operations and inexpensive to maintain. The safety concept provided for two-engine design and a redundant design of all important systems, as well as a high-lying tail rotor . This resulted in the Bölkow Bo 105 , the prototype of which had its first flight on February 16, 1967. The program was about to be discontinued several times, because the security package was price-driving and difficult to enforce against the cost pressure of the market. Only an order for VBH / PAH 1 by the Federal Ministry of Defense brought the economic breakthrough.

The Bo 105 was the first helicopter in the world to have a hingeless main rotor ( Bölkow system ) with a rigid rotor head, made possible by the use of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP) for the rotor blades. The rotor consists of considerably fewer components than a conventional rotor and has exceptionally good flight characteristics. Aerospatiale in France took a license and used the Bölkow rotor principle on the Gazelle helicopter . Today's helicopters from the world market leader Eurocopter , in which Bölkow helicopter construction later merged, are also shaped by the technology developed by Bölkow in the 1960s.

60% of the capital required for the development came as a loan from the federal government and should be repaid if the helicopter was commercially successful. At this time, Bölkow was already working with Riskshare in a development partnership with suppliers. So the developed ZF in Friedrichshafen the main transmission and also featured free transmission for prototypes; similar to other suppliers with their systems.

Bölkow developed and tested the first fiberglass skis around 1964 and was also active in the aerospace industry in the field of drives. In addition to the Derschmidt rotor for the Bo 46 , a test system for the Heidelberg rotor with a diameter of 31 m was also created.

Bölkow GmbH was also innovative in the field of human resource management. In 1967 it was the first company to introduce the "Ottobrunner Model". Today, millions of people work with this working time model, which is currently known as flextime . At Bölkow, however, it was created more under the constraint of traffic conditions with a single narrow driveway to the plant in Ottobrunn. Ludwig Bölkow was forward-looking, pragmatic and social in such matters. There was a company kindergarten right in front of the factory gate, where working mothers could hand in their children in the morning, look after them at lunchtime and take them home with them in the evening. From 1965 onwards, payroll accounting was done cashless using punch cards in cooperation with the Sparkasse in Ottobrunn.

Aircraft types

Helicopter types

For other types such as the Bo 105 see Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB).

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Frieß , Peter M. Steiner: Deutsches Museum Bonn: Research and Technology in Germany after 1945 , Deutscher Kunstverlag , 1995 pp. 350–352 [1]
  2. ^ Kyrill von Gersdorff: Title Ludwig Bölkow and his work: Ottobrunner Innovations , Verlag Bernard & Graefe, 1987, ISBN 3-7637-5292-7 , p. 298
  3. in: Urania , Volume 28, Issues 7-12, Verlag Urania-Verlag, 1965, p. 904 [2]