Press release


Airbus swings on hook

Heavy lift crane hoists the “Zero G” onto car park
New attraction for visitors

Spectacular crane operation today at Cologne Bonn Airport: a heavy lift crane weighing 700 tons and around 60 meters high lifts the Zero G, the parabola aircraft formerly used by, among others, the German Center for Aerospace (DLR), from the apron to its final location on the Car Park North. During the move, the Airbus A300, which is 54 meters long and 80 tons in weight, swings in the air for around two hours and is turned through almost 180 degrees thereby.

This extraordinary lifting operation is a major challenge for all involved and was preceded by months of planning. On the one hand, the aircraft’s static requires a special three-point support construction, which is fastened to the fuselage and both wings. On the other hand, the tail fin offers an unusually large surface exposed to the wind during the lifting operation. Thirdly, the Zero G has to be positioned precisely to the millimeter in the specially created holding construction.

The operation lasting around 12 hours is carried out by the company Riga Mainz GmbH & Co. With its heavy lift cranes, the family company from the Rhineland Palatinate operates on construction sites between Scandinavia and the South Sea, for example in building wind power turbines, bridges and chemical plants. Assembling the crane, which was delivered in individual components on 35 trucks, took five days.

Until 2014, the parabola aircraft was used to generate weightlessness. In total, some 13,180 parabolas were flown with the aircraft. Among others, astronaut Alexander Gerst was once on board.

At its new location, the Zero G will be converted in cooperation with the DLR into a multi-media museum aircraft and can be viewed as part of guided airport tours. The theme of the interactive exhibition is the Zero G itself and the stunning space trials that have taken place. A look into the glass cockpit, interactive experiments and a multi-media station with the opportunity to take a photo on which one hovers apparently weightless. 

Airport chief Michael Garvens is delighted by this new attraction at Cologne Bonn Airport: “The Zero G is a real looker and a piece of aviation history. We can now make this incredible exhibit accessible to anyone interested and thus have a new visitor highlight at the airport.”



Heavy lift crane Liebherr LR 1.600

Time to assemble: 5 days

Delivery on 35 trucks

Load capacity: 600 tons

Own weight: 700 tons

Lifting height of the variant used at the airport: 59 meters

Jib length: 66 meters


Airbus A300 Zero G

Length: 53.61 meters

Wingspan: 44.84 meters

Fuselage height: 7.5 meters

Tail fin height: 16.5 m

Weight: 80 tons






back to overview