Short History of Aero Ever Kft. (Aero Ever Ltd.) and its successor factories.

Historical background

The Hungarian gliding movement slowly gathered momentum after the first bungee-cord gliding start had taken place at Farkashegy in 1929, a field in the hills at western part of Budapest. Gliding clubs were founded across the country, among them the Esztergom Flying Society of MOVERO (Hungarian acronym for the Flying Section of Hungarian National Home Guard) in 1932. Esztergom is a town 40 km north-west of Budapest, and it had been the first capital in Hungary. The maintenace and repair tasks of the new Society was entrusted to Lajos Mitter, a talented young carpenter, who went to work for two months to the workshop of MOVERO at Farkeshegy to learn the specifics of gliding repairs and maintenece.

Mitter's first task was to build two RRG-1 Zöglings. The Association was very poorly financed and their first workshop in the outskirts of the town was very small and badly equipped. Accordingly the production progressed very slowly. Later they aquired a new workshop in the city in an old soap-factory building. The two Zöglings were finished in 1932.

Ernő Rubik, at those times a student of the József Nádor Technical University of Budapest and a member of the Műegyetemi Sportrepülő Egyesület (MSrE - Sportfying Club of the Technical University of Budapest), was very active at the workshops of the MSrE from 1929, where he gained experience designing and building gliders as well as powered sport planes. He started to glide and in 1930 he earned his pilot licence for powered planes as well. He got an assignment from the Magyar Aero Szövetség (MAESZ - Hungarian Aero Association) to supervise buildings and repairs of gliders in different part of the country. In this way he had became closely associated with Mitter and with the Esztergom Flying Society where he later served as a gliding istructor as well. In 1936 he became the head of the workshop. In 1934 he had started to design gliders and the building of R-03 Szittya training and R-05 Vöcsök primary gliders was started at the workshop

At the workshop Rubik and Mitter were lacking in helping hands to finish the gliders in a reasonable short time and in 1937 they decided to stand on their own feet. They rented the workshop from the Society, hired a couple of helps and both gliders were duly finished. The Szittya was test flown at September 1, 1937 at Budaörs Airfield, in those times Budapest's central airport. The Vöcsök was tested at Hármashatárhegy a couple of weeks later. Both gliders had been accepted by a supervising committee formed by the MAESZ for this purpose. The Vöcsök was a resounding success. All the aero clubs were ready to buy or build the new primary glider. Károly Csermely, the owner of the Icarus Flying School at Gödöllő, who had been present at Hármashatárhegy when the Vöcsök was test flown, bought the glider on the spot. The first "C" badge was gained with Vöcsök in a winch-launched flight at Gödöllő at November 4, 1937 . The time had arrived for Rubik and Mitter to place their enterprise to a more stable basis.

The Aero Ever Kft. 1938-1948

The new enterprise was formed at March 10, 1938. A small branch of investors raised the required minimum capital of 14.000 Hungarian pengő (HUP), among them Rubik and Mitter sharing 39% and 11 % repectively. (When the pengő was introduced at January 1, 1927, its value was defined as 3.800 HUP to one kilogram of gold. For comparison the factory sold the Vöcsök for 1.500 HUP in 1938, and for 1.600 HUP in 1939.)

The name of the new enterpise: Aero Ever Kft (Kft is the Hungarian acronym of limited company)
Location: Deák Ferenc utca 54, Esztergom
Registration number assigned by the Registry of Court : Cg. 5491/1938

The managment consisted of two managers, Ernő Rubik and Zoltán Severlay. The workshop forman was Lajos Mitter. The enterprise had the right to build and repair aircraft and aeromodels as well as to undertake carpenter's and locksmith's works. The factory and Rubik agreed upon to let Rubik design his gliders independently of the factory which would pay royalties after the gliders to be built.

Now the workshop got better equipments and tools and hired more skilled workers. The production speeded up. Whereas 15 gliders were built from 1934 up to the formation of Aero Ever, 27 gliders were finished up to the end of the year: 1 R-04 Szittya II training glider, 12 R-07b Vöcsök and 14 R-07a Tücsök primary gliders.

In the next year, 1939, 52 gliders left the factory. In addition to the production of the primary gliders mentioned above new types were introduced as well: the R-08 Pilis and the R-10 Szittya III training gliders. Of the former a serial production was commenced. Another product was the DFS-Olympia Meise performance glider the licence of which had been bought by the Horthy Miklós Nemzeti Repülő Alap (HMNRA - Horthy Miklós National Aviation Foundation). The factory built four of this glider. At the end of the year 50 persons were employed by the factory, among them 8 apprentices. With the widening activity of the factory an office was opened at Budapest where 5-6 designers worked on Rubik's new gliders and 2-3 persons were engaged in procurement and administration.

In the wake of the air force's accelerated rearmament the development of gliding picked up momentum as well. In 1938 the HMNRA was founded to promote sportflying as the background of military aviation. The MAESZ, the most important executive branch of HMNRA, established new gliding training centers as well as developed existing ones across the country and equipped them with new aircraft. In 1943 MAESZ had 46 member clubs with 3800 active members and owned approximately 400 gliders.

A development loan of 50.000 HUP was offered by HMNRA to Aero Ever Ltd. on the condition to repay the loan by gliders. The firm accepted the loan at April 17, 1939 and bought an inactive plant site in Esztergom and fit up new workshops there to increase its production capacity.

In addition to the gliders designed by Rubik the factory started to build the M-22 performance glider, designed by Endre Jancsó and András Szokolay at MSrE, on an order of the HMNRA in 1940. The total production in 1940 was 80 gliders. During the year the firm's advertising activity got more attention and a couple of gliders were exhibited at the International Fair of Budapest.

Rubik started to design a two-seater trainig and a performance glider, the R-11b Cimbora and R-12 Kevély respectively. The prototypes flew first at the first half of 1941. Both types were built in series. A total of 50 Cimbora and 25 Kevély were built up to the end of 1944.

During 1941 the factory was expanded further and new machinery was purchased. The total production in 1941 was 120 gliders, among them another DFS-Olympia Meise.

In 1942 the first difficulty in procurement of materials had occured which caused some delay of delivering gliders to date. One of Rubik's new designs, a small powered aeroplane, denoted as R-14 Pinty, was sucessfully test flown at October 2, 1942. The construction of the prototype of a two-seater training powered aircraft designed by László Varga and denoted as Káplár started. Rubik got down to design a two-seater training glider, R-15 Koma, a single-seater training glider, R-16 Lepke, as well as an aerobatic glider, R-17 Móka. The total production of the year was 140 aircraft.

In 1942 Zoltán Severlay died. Further on Rubik served alone as general manager. Vendel Kovács became financial manager.

The factory was successful in 1943 as well. During the year the factory raised its capital to 70.000 HUP. Rubik's and Mitter's shares increased to 61 % and 15 % respectively. The factory's workshops and their equipment were developed continously. The factory claimed from the city an uncultivated field outside of the city limits in the neighbourhood of the newly established sport airfield. Rubik's idea was to build there an assembly shop to make the test flights possible without transporting the disassembled gliders from the city to the airfield. The factory finally got the site in 1944 and the construction work commenced on one half of the site however was not finished because of the events of war. The other half of the field would have been used as house sites for factory's employees. The total production in 1943 was 150 aircraft. For optimal usage of their capacity the production was supplemented by 14 trailers for gliders, rowing boats, skis and other sport appliances.

At March, 1944, the factory received a big order from the HMNRA: 24 Tücsök and 24 Vöcsök primary gliders, 48 Pilis trainig gliders, 12 Cimbora two-seaters and 2 Móka aerobatic gliders, alltogether 110 aircraft. However this order was not completely fulfilled because the priorities shifted due to the war. As part of the war effort a complete workshop producing control systems for Ju-52 transport aircraft had been moved to Aero Ever from a factory located at Budapest and frequently bombed by the Allies. This production got priority over gliders but the R-21 transport glider. The R-21 prototype went into production, however it was never finished and was destroyed during the fights. This glider had been designed to carry a payload of one-and-a-half tons. Notwithstanding the prototypes of the R-17 Móka and the R-22 Futár were finished and test flown. The production of the prototype of a new towing aircraft, the R-18 Kánya, was started.

The fights during the winter of 1944 incurred losses to the factory, however it was not completely destroyed. At the spring of 1945 nearly 100 persons worked on the removal of rubble and to make the buildings usable again. The Aero Ever Ltd. was reorganized at the spring of 1946 and started producing sport appliances using the wooden material originally bought for the R-21 transport glider and was engaged in different carpenter works as well. In the meantime the works on the R-22 Futár performance glider and on the R-18 Kánya towing aircraft was continued. The design office led by Ernő Rubik worked on a new type-variant of the Pilis training glider, the result of wich was the R-08d Pilis fitted with airbrakes.

When it was discovered in 1946 during an assesment of the financial situation of the Nemzeti Repülő Alap (NRA - National Aviation Foundation) - the reorganized and renamed Horthy Miklós Aviation Foundation - that the order for 110 gliders had not been fulfilled by Aero Ever Ltd., the new organization, the Országos Magyar Repülő Egyesület (OMRE - National Hungarian Flying Association) inherited the order. The production started. Unfortunately a fire had broken out at the factory at December, 1946, and 2 Tücsök, 3 Vöcsök, 6 Pilis and 3 M-22 gliders were destroyed.

Sportárutermelő Vállalat (Factory of Sport Appliances). 1948-1957

The factory was nationalized at March, 1948. A new general manager was appointed, however Rubik remained as technical manager. The production manager became Pál Kerekes who was succeeded on this post by Árpád Lampich in 1951.

The factory got considerable orders from the Ministry of Defence and from the NRA to repair aircraft and build new ones. Up to the end of the year a total of 12 Vöcsök primary and 65 Pilis training gliders were delivered and a number of demaged sport aircraft were repaired, among them two R-18 Kánya (laison version) and one M-29 two-seater touring aircraft. (The latter was designed by Endre Jancsó and József Szegedy at the design bureau of MSrE and went into serial production at the EMESE Experimental Aircraft Factory in 1944.) In the course of the year the construction of the R-15 Koma two-seater and the R-16 Lepke single-seater training gliders were commenced. These latter types became the standard training gliders of the OMRE.

In 1949 the serial production of the Vöcsök, Pilis and Futár gliders continued, and the modified R-18 Kánya towing aircraft serial production started as well. During the years of 1949 and 1950 a total of 10 Futár performance gliders were built and delivered. Based on the experiences gained by the R-15 Koma prototype two modified versions were built in 1950 with R-15a and R-15b type designations. The latter was accepted by the OMRE and in the years of 1950-51 a total of 65 R-15b Koma gliders were produced. Following the deliveries of these two-seter gliders the serial production of the R-16b Lepke single-seater was started. During 1952-53 a total of 65 Lepke training gliders were delivered. In 1951 60 K-02b Szellő single-seater training gliders were produced as well. This glider had been designed by Sándor Kemény. The factory built additional 19 pieces in 1952 and 10 pieces in 1953 of this type.

At the beginning of 1949 the design bureau of OMRE headed by Ernő Rubik was formed of the design groups working at the Aircraft Department of the Technical University and at the Sportárutermelő Vállalat. One of the first design of this bureau was a performance glider designated as R-22S Június-18, an improved version of the R-22 Futár. Its prototype first flew at Jun 1950. The serial production started and up to the end of the year 20 gliders left the factory. 16 followed in 1951 and another 10 in 1953. Up to the end of 1957 altogether 70 R-22S Junius-18 got registrations. The batches differed in airbrake and flap designs. In 1952 Ernő Rubik was transferred from the Sportárutermelő Vállalat to a military aircraft rapair factory from where he moved back to the sport aicraft industry in 1954.

In 1954 a series of 20 DFS Olympia designated as Cinke was built to meet an order of the OMRE. The last 3 gliders of the series were delivered at the beginning of 1955.

In 1955 on govermnment orders the factory became the basic facility to build and repair powered sport aircraft. The new tecnical manager became Márton Pap and chief technologist Árpád Lampich. In its new role the factory's first task was to overhaul 31 Zlin Z-381 Fecske side-by-side two-seater training aircraft. However there was a demand for a new trainer and on the initiative of György Mező then the head of the quality control department of the Magyar Repülő Szövetség (MRSz - Hungarian Aeronautical Assotiation), a new tandem two-seater powered training aircraft, the Pajtás, was designed by a team in the design bureau of the factory - István Borlai, József Mihályi and Márton Pap - and the prototype was built. Though the Pajtás was a success it never went into serial production. Instead the factory got a completely new task: the serial production of the Yakovlev Yak-18 military tarining aircraft under licence. However the licenser was not able to present the documentation of the aircraft in time. Instead the factory got two aircraft to disassemble and on the basis of studying the parts to create a documentation for the serial production. The production of this aircraft required to learn and to apply new technologies at the factory. Up to the middle of 1956 50 Yak-18s were delivered.

Labor Műszeripari Művek Esztergomi Gyáregysége (Subsidiary of the "Labor" Industrial Instrument Works), 1957-1958

In 1957 the factory ceased to be an independent firm, it became the subsidiary of the Labor Műszeripari Művek located at Esztergom. Pál Kerekes became again the technical manager. Notwithstanding the new production profile the factory produced in the years of 1957-58 10 R-22SV Super Futár (B-Futár) performance glider which was an improved version of the Június-18. And further development work was undertaken the result of which were the R-22SV Super Futár (C-Futár) and the R-22SV Standard Futár. 10 C-Futár and one Standard Futár were built. In the meantime Ernő Rubik, who during these years was the head of the design bureu of the Central Experimental Aircraft Workshop of the MRSz, made progress of designing his light-metal glider family. The first of this family was the R-23 Gébics single-seater training glider the specially corrugated wing-skin of which was produced in the factory which had already gained experiences in similar technologies. The other parts of the glider was built and finally assembled in the Experimental Aircraft Workshop.

Pestvidéki Gépgyár Esztergomi Gyáregysége (Esztergom Facility of the Pest-Area Machine Factory), 1958-1969

In 1958 as a part of an industrial reorganization the Central Experimental Aircraft Workshop including its design bureau was closed down and at the same time the sport aircraft factory in Esztergom became a subsidiary of the Pestvidéki Gépgyár. The latter was the main repair center for military aircraft in Hungary.

The production of Rubik's light-metal glider family was moved to Esztergom. In 1960 the production of three prototypes of this family were started: R-25 Mokány standard class, R-26 Góbé two-seater training and R-27 Kópé single-seater training gliders. The prototype of the R-25 first flew at September 1960, but no other glider of this type was ever built as the target performance parameters were not met. Of the R-26 two versions were built. The R-26 P1 and the R-26 P2 first flew in 1960 and 1961 respectively. Of the final version, designated as R-26S Góbé, a serial of 115 was built between 1963 and 1965. Of the Kópé type also two versions were built. The R-27 P1 and the R-27 P2 first flew in 1962 and 1963 respectively. However the type never gone into serial production because of the great success of the R-26S Góbé which served well in single-seater training role as well.

To meet the demand for a performance glider of the same family it was decided to develop a new standard class glider. Two versions were developed which differed in the structure of their wings. The first, the R-253, first flew at August 1964, and the second version, the R-254, took off first at March 1965. The R-254 version was chosen for serial production. 5 pre-production gliders were built in 1966. The type after slight modifications went to serial production with a designation of E-31 Esztergom. In 1967 a batch of 30, in 1968 a batch of 15 and later that year another batch of 5 were built.

The top management of the factory wanted to drop all aircraft production, however as a private initiative the design of a high performance all-metal glider was drawn up by a group of mostly young designers of the factory - Lajos Bende, Mihály Kesselyák, Pál Kerekes, Bálint Magyar, Ferenc Major, György Papp és Lajos Teknyős. The management accepted the design, designated as EV.1.K Fecske, and the glider was built. It first flew at September 1969 and was a success. However all aircraft production ceased at the Esztergom Facility of the Pestvidéki Gépgyár in 1969. Unfortunately in October 1970 the glider was destroyed when broken up during a flight due to a fatal pilot error and this accident killed all hope to reopen glider production at the factory. In 1974 the factory became the subsidiary of the Budapesti Finommechanikai Vállalat (Precision-engineering Works, Budapest) with a new production profile.