BMW Flügelrad / SERIES I-III


The original propulsion units slated for the Schriever Flugkreisel were to be five BMW 003 jet engines with three units arranged on the disc rotor and two units on each side of the disc underbody.

Work began in 1943 with the BMW Flügelrad I V-1 (Versuchs or prototype 1) which was painted matte

aluminum and performed its first flight tests at the Czech aerodrome at Prag-Kbley between August and

September of that year. It left the hanger by its own means after which the rotor began to spin under the

power of the Strahlrohr (Jet Pipe) deflector. Lifting to 1 meter and flying for 300 meters before making a

hard landing. During static testing the prototype was surrounded by concrete blocks to prevent the test pilot in the unfortunate event of a disc blade breaking.

Above: BMW Flügelrad V1.

The first design was very crude so work proceeded on the second prototype designated BMW Flügelrad I V-2 in 1944. This time, the cockpit was enlarged to house two pilots and serve as a support for the addition of an aerodynamic rudder for better control. The fixed landing gear was replaced with a more practical semi-retractable one. Rotor diameter increased to 8 meters but kept the 16 disc blades. This machine was painted yellow and performed its first flight tests in late autumn 1944 at the Neubiberg Aerodrome near BMW’s Munich facility. Severe stability problems plagued the machine and the rudder proved useless.

Above: Illustration (no original) "BMW Flügelrad")

Not to be deterred, BMW built another prototype designated BMW Flügelrad II V-1 in 1945 which kept the same body but discarded the failed rudder. The disc rotor was enlarged to 12.6 meters. The first test flight was again performed at Prag-Kbley in February 1945 with another jump at low altitude but without the ability to actually fly.

Meanwhile in 1945, another BMW Flügelrad prototype was under construction and may have possibly flown during April 1945. This was the BMW Flügelrad II V-2 which was powered by two BMW 003 jet engines located in the lower body side-by-side. The cockpit was enlarged for a crew of four and rotor diameter increased to 14.4 meters with 24 disc blades.

A further BMW Flügelrad II V-3 was in the model phase and differed from the V-2 version in having 21 disc blades.

In its 1989 Febr. issue, the German magazine "Flugzeug" published the following report made by a

German aviation official who, allegedly, been the protagonist of the astonishing sighting involving a "flying saucer" at the Prag-Gbell (formerly Praha-Kbely) aerodrome in 1943:

Place of Sighting: C 14 Flight School at the Prag-Gbell aerodrome.

Date of Event: August/September 1943, supposedly on a Sunday (I seem to recall there were no services on

that day). The weather was good, dry and sunny.

Kind of Observation:

I was with my flight comrades on the air strip, more precisely, near the school buildings, some 2000 meters

away from the arsenal (located to the extreme left). See adjoining diagram.

The device was inside the hangar: a disk some 5-6 meters in diameter. Its body is relatively large at the

center. Underneath, it has four tall, thin legs. Color: Aluminum. Height: Almost as tall as a man. Thickness:

some 30 - 40 cm., with an rim of external rods, perhaps square orifices.

The upper part of the body (almost a third of the total height) was shrunken over the upper half of the disk.

t was flat and rounded. See the attached sketch for the lower half.

Along with my friends, I saw the device emerge from the hangar. It was then that we heard the roar of the

engines, we saw the external side of the disk begin to rotate, and the vehicle began moving slowly and in a

straight line toward the southern end of the field. It then rose almost 1 meter into the air. After moving around some 300 meters at that altitude, it stopped again. Its landing was rather rough.

We had to leave the area while some custodians pushed the vehicles toward the hangar. Later on, the "thing" took off again, managing to reach the end of the aerodrome this time.

Afterwards, I made a note in my flight log of the members of the FFS C14 who were present at the

moment: Gruppenfluglehrer (group flight instructor) Ofw. Michelsen; Fluglehrer Uffz. Kolh und Buhler;

Flugschüler (flight students): Ogefr, Klassmann, Kleiner, Müller, Pfaffle, Schenk, Seifert, Seibert, Squarr,

Stahn, Weinberger, Zoebele, Gefr, Hering, Koza, Sitzwohl, Voss, and Waluda.

(Repot from R. Arndt)