MOTORWORLD | History
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Region Stuttgart

His Majesty’s airfield

History of the old state airport and Böblingen airfield
Böblingen aerodrome was opened in July 1915 for training military pilots and observers. First of all, the ground at the site had to be made suitable. It was marshy and bumpy, making it difficult for the aeroplanes to take off and land. In the summer of 1916, the airfield was able to receive a high-ranking visitor. Among those present at an air show was His Majesty, the King of Württemberg.

Short chronology
1915 Inauguration of the military aerodrome
1925 Opening of the state airport
1926 Founding year of the light aircraft constructor Leichtflugzeugbau Klemm

By 1917, Flight Training Squadron 10 had already grown to a strength of 200 men, with runways, hangars and other facilities gradually being added up to the end of the war. When all aircraft had to be destroyed under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the order was also given to disassemble several facilities. Just a few buildings were able to remain standing. Many hangar doors were bricked up, and much of the airfield was closed down.

The state airport comes to Böblingen
In the early 1920s, flying schools and aviation sport groups attempted to use the complexes. Officially, however, this was only permitted since 1924. At the same time, the newly formed airline Luftverkehr Württemberg AG (LUWAG) made efforts to establish regular air services. A state airport was needed. Another site under discussion was the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart. But on account of the good transport links that were already in place, the decision was made in favour of Böblingen. The big day arrived on April 20, 1925, when the first commercial aircraft landed here. The city authorities built a new hangar shortly afterwards. An extremely modern reception building for that time with a hotel, restaurant, customs and baggage handling was available. Passengers could fly from Böblingen to Zurich, Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt. There were a total of eight daily flights, including one to Switzerland. In the early days, however, only few people could afford to fly at all.

Hans Klemm: An aircraft for the people
Hanns Klemm realised early on that the future lay in the air. After joining Daimler Motorengesellschaft, he came to Sindelfingen as the chief designer for aircraft construction. Klemm had a clearly defined goal: He wanted to put an aircraft for the masses into series production, one that was cheap to buy, operate and maintain. After leaving Daimler, Klemm set up his company Leichtflugzeugbau Klemm in Böblingen. The new state airport offered ideal starting conditions for Klemm and his firm, which at that time soon became the largest industrial enterprise in Böblingen. Ultimately, in 1939 around 800 people were employed there. The weak-engined, fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly aircraft from Klemm’s production line are today still considered one of the milestone developments in aircraft construction.

Short chronology
1929 Landing of the “Graf Zeppelin”
1931 Opening of the German Aviation Museum
1934 Opening of the trans-ocean route for airmail to South America via Böblingen
1937 Construction of the military airfield barracks
1938 Airport manned with military ground personnel

On November 3, the airship “Graf Zeppelin” paid its first Sunday visit to Böblingen. Taking off at 9:04 from Friedrichshafen with 34 passengers on board, towards midday it flew over Stuttgart and then landed at the airfield in Böblingen at 12.55 – surrounded by no fewer than 100,000 people. Further flying days were organised during the following years, and the highlight was always the landing of a Zeppelin, which repeatedly attracted large crowds to the new Böblingen airfield.

Airmail via Böblingen
A special event which demonstrated Stuttgart’s significance in the air transport network was the inauguration of scheduled air services transporting mail across the South Atlantic to Latin America. Deutsche Lufthansa was the first airline to begin this service in 1933. On its maiden flight in February 1934, an aeroplane loaded with 84 pounds of postal items from all corners of the German Empire was sent on a journey to Marseille, Barcelona and Seville. Initially, however, the post crossed the Atlantic by ship.

Golden age of flying
Following another surge in aviation services in 1935, the Böblingen state airport was slowly reaching the limits of its capacity. From this year also date the first considerations about building another airport on the Filder plateau.

In military use again
From 1937, plans started to be realised that foresaw the renewed establishment of a military airfield. One year later, the airport was manned with military ground personnel. A pilot training school was also located at the site from 1942. Flying at the former state airport ceased with the ending of the war. From the end of the Second World War through to 1992, authority over the former airport site was exercised by the United States. The large area had also become home to repair workshops for U.S. Army vehicles. The imposing administration building of the old state airport was turned into offices for the repair facility. In the following years, the building was owned by the Federal Assets Management department. Many of the now abandoned buildings and numerous open spaces were occupied for interim use.

Short chronology
1945 Decommissioning of the military airfield
1991/92 The U.S. armed forces vacate the site of the former airport
2000 Establishment of the EFG planning association
2002 Planning association disbanded. Ehemaliges Flughafengelände Böblingen/Sindelfingen (Former Airport Site, ZV-EFG) joint administration founded.
2004 Renaming of the site into “Flugfeld” (“Airfield”). Renaming of the joint administration into Zweckverband Flugfeld Böblingen/Sindelfingen (Airfield Joint Administration)
2005 Completion of disposal of explosive ordnance and rehabilitation of the site
2006 Development of the airfield (roads, open areas, supply and disposal facilities)
2007 Approval for public access, first building constructions
2008 First pile driven at “Langer See”

Beginning of the airfield’s modern era
In view of the opportunities presented by a conversion of the former airport site with regard to the economic and urban development of Böblingen and Sindelfingen, in 2001 both local authorities decided to develop the site on their own account.

The joint administration
The joint administration “Ehemaliges Flughafengelände Böblingen/Sindelfingen” was founded by the local authorities in May 2002 with responsibility for the planning, rehabilitation, development and marketing of the site. The consortium of architect partners AP Mory, Osterwalder und Vielmo and planning company Freiraum + Städtebau Hans Kienle (both from Stuttgart) won the urban planning competition. Together with the former planning association, the predecessor of the joint administration, this consortium drafted an urban concept which was adopted by the local councils of both towns as the basis for further urban planning. The joint administration instigated all the other requisite planning and marketing work. In January 2004, the administration decided on a name for the future urban quarter: Flugfeld. The Ehemaliges Flughafengelände joint administration then relinquished its old name in May 2004 to continue development and marketing of the area as the joint administration Zweckverband Flugfeld Böblingen/Sindelfingen. In 2007, the airfield was approved for public access and the first construction work began.

MOTORWORLD
First work on the MOTORWORLD Region Stuttgart in 2008.
Opening on September 12-13, 2009.

fotobuch-cover
See photo book > PDF

Courtesy of Zweckverband Flugfeld Böblingen/Sindelfingen.

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