Leichtwerk AG, as it exists today, has its origins in the freelance engineering career of Dr. Reiner Kickert. At the beginning of 1996, the Bürogemeinschaft Flugtechnik & Leichtbau (aeronautics and lightweight construction associates) was founded on the premises of the former Tannenberg Barracks at Braunschweig Airport. In the rooms shared with Hans-Ludwig Meyer, former head of the aeronautics division at DLR Braunschweig, Dr. Kickert devoted himself to the development of the world's largest glider, "eta". The project was commissioned by a group of famous world record gliders (H.W. Grosse, E. Müller, H. Lodes, B. Gantenbrink, U. Mantica) mid 1995. On 31 July 2000, the aircraft had its successful maiden flight at Cochstedt airport. Subsequently, a limited series of the aircraft was built by manufacturing companies in the Rhön region and in southern Germany.
In 1999 the company moved into the main building of the airport, and in 2002 the leichtwerk brand was registered. Hans-Ludwig Meyer retired and the office-sharing arrangement was disbanded. The development of large rotor blades for wind turbines introduced an important new field of activity. Wind tunnel models made of fiber reinforced plastics, that distorted like their prototypes in the airstream, were subsequently developed for institutes at the research centers in Braunschweig and Göttingen. Special commissions for car body reinforcements were also processed. This secured an additional line of business besides aircraft design, i.e. extremely lightweight construction, particularly with fiber reinforced structures, spanning numerous different industry sectors. The year 2003 saw the establishment of protowerk Manufaktur and the setup of a production site for prototype constructions. In 2007 the engineering company received accreditation from the European aeronautics authority as an independent design organization for prototype construction with an office of airworthiness.