Ludwig Bölkow (30th June 1912 – 25th July 2003) was one of the aeronautical pioneers of Germany.
Born in Schwerin, in north-eastern Germany, in 1912, Bölkow was the son of a foreman employed by Fokker, one of the leading aircraft constructors of that time.
Bölkow’s first job was with Heinkel, the aircraft company, before studying aero-engineering at the Technical University in Berlin. On graduation, in 1939, he joined the project office of Messerschmitt AG in Augsburg, where he served initially as a clerk, later as a group leader for high-speed aerodynamics, especially for the Messerschmitt Me 262 and its successors. In January 1943, he was appointed head of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 development office in Vienna. A year later, Bölkow returned to the Messerschmitt project office, which had meanwhile moved to Oberammergau. There he set up a program for the development of the Messerschmitt Me P1101 jet fighter.
After the war he created the Bölkow GmbH in Ottobrunn, which with time grew to the biggest aeronautics and spaceflight company, MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm). In the early 1990s it was bought by DASA.
Bölkow was awarded the “Ludwig-Prandtl-Ring” from the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt” DGLR (German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics) for “outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace engineering” in 1972. He was awarded a Gold Medal by the “British Royal Aeronautical Society” in 1978.
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