Udet Flugzeugbau GmbH

Company history

In less than three years following the November 1918 Armistice, Udet was to lend his name to aircraft manufacture. William PohI of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, had decided that what Germany needed was a cheap light plane available to the masses. He saw the advantage to have a well-known ace in the company, Ernst Udet eagerly accepted the proposition which led to the launching of Udet-Flugzeugbau in 1921. A start was made by renting a workshop at Milbertshof en, near München. But in July 1921, Udet Flugzeugbau was forced to go "underground" before members of the IMKK (Inter-Allied Military Control Commission) could step in and apply the "notoriously restrictive aviation clauses" of the Treaty of Versailles. Together with the vital jigs and tools, the half-completed prototype Udet U-1 was hastily loaded into a horse-drawn waggon and spirited away in the depth of night.Subsequently the U-1 prototype (40/30 h.p. Haacke 2-cylinder engine) was completed at Ramersdorf behind the "cover" of perfectlylegitimate production of beehives and chicken-coops being turned out by Udet's friend and subsequent aviation colleague, Dipl. Ing. Erich Scheuermann, a pilot since 1911.Fortuitously, the total ban on aircraft construction was partially lifted on May 5, 1922. And, just under two weeks later, the U-1 single seater was towed behind an automobile through the streets of Munich on route to.the commercial airfield at Oberwiesenfeld. Ernst Udet undertook the first flight there on May 16. Six months later, on October 23, 1922, the small company was officially incorporated as Udet Flugzeugbau GmbHOnly one U-1 was built but this was followed in rapid succession of several designs. However, before the end of 1925, both Ernst Udet and his friend Erich Scheuermann were to part company with William PohI and Udet-Flugzeugbau GmbH because of disagreements at management level.Even the success with the Flamingo could not save the enterprise from financial disaster. Employment had risen steadily so that, by the end of 1925, the Company was one of the biggest German aircraft constructors. But the wide diversification, namely the development of several types had eaten up large amounts of money. The Munich banking house of Merck, Finck und Co alone had invested some 800,000 Marks for which no dividends could be paid, and negotiations with the Reichsverkehrsministerium (Ministry of Transport) and the Bavarian State led to the establishment of a new firm to take over control. (BFW)

U-12 Flamingo D-563
U-11 Kondor D-828
Ernst Udet