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The Costruzioni Meccaniche Aeronautiche SA , CMASA for short, was an operating company for the construction of Dornier flying boats / Dornier whales in the former shipyard of the Società Gallinari in Marina di Pisa in Italy . The Friedrichshafen Zeppelin airship GmbH, the parent company of Dornier GmbH metal structures (DMB) had in mind 57%, and the original owner of the shipyards Societa Gallinari and some Pisan business people together 43%.


CMASA was founded in 1921 in connection with the acquisition of Gallinari Werftanlagen by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH. For its subsidiary DMB, the company needed a production facility abroad to circumvent the construction ban on larger and military aircraft imposed by the Versailles agreements . In 1921, during an inspection of the activities of the DMB by the Interallied Aviation Control Commission (ILÜK) to ensure compliance with the Versailles treaties, Claude Dornier , who was then managing director of the DMB, which belonged to the Zeppelin Group, met an Italian colonel from the commission who told him about a disused shipyard in Marina di Pisa - evidently even with conspiratorial intent. This shipyard was involved in the construction of smaller ships and boats during the First World War and was now falling apart. The DMB was working on the construction of the Dornier Wal and urgently needed a shipyard to assemble the aircraft abroad to circumvent the construction ban imposed by the Versailles treaties. A first attempt to buy, through a visit by Dornier and Alfred Colsman , the general manager of the Zeppelin Group, to the owners of the facilities in Marina di Pisa failed because the owners did not show up. However, Colsman gave Dornier permission to continue negotiating with an absolute purchase limit of 100,000 gold marks for the shipyard facilities. In a further sales talk, the owners insisted on 200,000 gold marks, but accepted the deal that the Zeppelin Group would acquire the shipyard facilities for 100,000 gold marks and the former owners of the operating company to be founded for the construction of the aircraft worth 75,000 gold marks were awarded, which corresponded to a ratio of about 43% at the CMASA. Soon after it was founded, the Zeppelin Group gave the majority to the Italian shareholders and was satisfied with a minority stake. The main connection with CMASA was the license agreement between Claude Dornier and DMB on the one hand and CMASA on the other.

DMB sent 8 employees from Friedrichshafen to Marina di Pisa, who cleared out and renovated the systems in 4 months. Other employees followed who prepared the construction of the Dornier Wale. The workforce was increased significantly by Italian employees.

In 1922 Spain ordered six Dornier whales, all of which were assembled and flown in at Marina di Pisa. Until 1931, the Dornier whales were built exclusively in Marina di Pisa, after which production went to Friedrichshafen / Seemoos.

In 1926, the German Reich founded the AG for Dornier Aircraft (Do-Flug AG) with Claude Dornier and DMB to build the Dornier Do X in Altenrhein , Switzerland . Dornier writes in his memoirs that the decision was then made to close the shipyard in Marina di Pisa and to bring the German staff to Altenrhein. But Dornier whales were still being built in Marina di Pisa until 1931. In 1930 the Italian shareholders sold their shares in CMASA to Fiat . It can be assumed that the Zeppelin Group sold its remaining shares in Fiat at the same time. In any case, after production of the Dornier whales ended in 1931 in Marina di Pisa, only Fiat aircraft were built, including the Fiat G.50 fighter aircraft . Dornier managed the facilities in Altenrhein after the Second World War , but - as before - not Marina di Pisa in its portfolio.


  • Claude Dornier, From my engineering career, private print
  • Brigitte Katzwadel-Drews, Claude Dornier, ISBN 978-3-7688-1970-1