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UFAG / Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik A.G.
MARE / Magyar Repülőgépgyár Rt.
UFAG badge from 1912
It was not until 1912 that the first Hungarian aircraft factory was born in Budapest, at the corner of Hungária körút and Váci út, with the cooperation of Ganz-Danubius, the Weiss Manfréd factory, the Hitelbank and the financial wizard Camilio Castiglioni, who had also helped BMW to prosper. The company was given the creative name of First Hungarian Airship and Aircraft Factory and, lacking its own types, started to produce biplane Lohner aircraft.
The company's first manager was the twenty-four-year-old Viktor Wittmann, who in 1910, with a degree in mechanical engineering, set off for Reims, France, to study European aircraft manufacturing. The following year, he was already testing aircraft for the Monarchy's air force at Aspern airbase in Austria. In May 1915, during a demonstration flight of one of the factory's military aircraft, he lost control of the plane and crashed from an altitude of 30 to 40 metres.
However, the first and earliest site of the factory did not have an airport, so most of the aircraft parts had to be transported to Rákosmező, where the airplanes were assembled and tested.
In the light of this, and the increasing demand for aircraft, the company grew rapidly, outgrowing its available space. They found a new site in Albertfalva, on the outer section of Fehérvári út, where there was enough space not only for halls but also for an airport (which was actually just a flat field, as the runways were not paved at the time).
Hansa-Brandenburgische Flugzeug Werke then joined the company's ownership, and from then the company began to produce aircraft under the names MARE (Magyar Repülőgépgyár Rt.) and UFAG (Ungarische Flugzeugfabrik Aktien Gesellschaft), including an increasing number of German-designed Hansa-Brandenburg C.I. aircraft, which accounted for a quarter of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's First World War fleet, 1,258 of them.
These were still canvas-covered, wood-frame and plywood machines and were powered by 160, 200 and 230 hp Hiero engines manufactured by UFAG. They were armed with one or two Schwarzlose machine guns, redesigned for aircraft, with greatly increased rate of fire.
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