Activities Worldwide

On World Tour with the Bayer Airship

On a long journey: an airship with the Bayer cross and mission statement in large lettering was heading for destinations in many parts of the world in 2013. It has been seen for the first time at the Financial News Conference. The Bayer Airship has visited some of the world's greatest cities in the company's anniversary year, for instance: Sydney, New York, Barcelona and Johannesburg.

World Tour of the Bayer Airship

From the plains of South Africa to the Statue of Liberty in New York, from the foot of Mount Fuji to the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro: On its travels, the airship carried the company mission "Bayer: Science For A Better Life" to enthusiastic spectators around the world. On the way, it took to the skies over major cities and many famous landmarks. All of them are now brought together in one video showing some of the highlights of a memorable tour.

See the Most Beautiful Pictures in Our Picture Gallery

Picture Gallery

Facts about the Bayer Airship

Dimensions &

Bayer Airship on a Trip around the World

  • 41 meters long
  • 12.8 meters in diameter
  • 3,000 cubic meters in volume
  • The gondola weighs 270 kilograms
  • The envelope weighs 220 kilograms
  • Added to this are the propane gas tanks, oil and gas
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 900 kilograms



  • Top speed 40 km/h
  • Can fly with ground wind speeds up to 20 km/h
    (12 knots/flags flutter)



  • Forward and reverse thrust provided by a tail engine with 65 hp
  • Protective coating for propeller of aviation steel and aluminum with environment-friendly two-component PU system formulated with the Bayer coating raw materials Bayhydrol™ & Bayhydur™ & Desmodur
  • directional control provided by a tail assembly (rudder) with control cables
  • Lift provided by heated air, as in a hot-air balloon



  • Four seats for pilot, co-pilot and 2 passengers
  • Weighs 270 kg
  • 4 meters long, 1.80 meters wide and two meters high
  • front screen made of Makrolon
  • Gondola structure made of seamless drawn aviation steel 
  • 5-point seat belts 
  • 4-blade carbon fiber propeller
  • 65 hp Rotax two-stroke engine
  • Dual burner with thermal output of 6,000 hp
  • labor: 1,200 hours


  • The “Hyperlast” material is made of silicone-coated nylon fabric, and weighs 110 grams per square meter
  • 1,300 meters of fabric with sewn-on lettering plus 560 meters of fabric for the tail unit and stabilizers
  • 2,500 m of seams
  • labor: 800 hours


  • Certified according to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requirements
  • Each airship undergoes a program of test flights before entering service.

Heavenly Ambassador – The Bayer Airship Making-Of

Bayer is celebrating its 150th anniversary both on the ground and in the sky, with a stately airship. “direct global” paid a visit to the shop where this impressive advertising medium currently is being built. 

Floating lightly in the sky requires solid workmanship on the ground, first. As Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, the inventor of the zeppelin, once did, Ralf Kremer and Johannes Pröfrock gave structure to the new airship over the last few weeks. However, unlike with the classic zeppelin where an internal framework provides a rigid structure, they only built a frame for the gondola. They assembled the gondola frame for the anniversary airship from 123 tubes of aviation steel. The airship itself gets its shape solely from the internal pressure of the lift gas.Ralf Kremer and Johannes Pröfrock have assembled no less than 123 tubes made of aircraft steel in recent weeks to construct the frame of the gondola for the anniversary airship. 

“Things start getting complicated in spots where several tubes meet. The end of a tube in this case must have up to five fitted elbows,” Kremer explains. With precision work of this kind, the cutting machine is occasionally inadequate, and the experienced carpenter and airship pilot is forced to grab a file. 

All the tubes are now temporarily connected. “A nice example of statics,” Kremer says, rapping on the gondola’s frame. Over the next few weeks, it will be turned into an elegant airship for Bayer. With it, Bayer will be visible in the sky worldwide at its major locations – over the Sydney Opera House, over the Corcovado in Rio and possibly even over the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

Airship around the World

But right now, the gondola frame is still lying on the floor upside down, and a layperson can only guess where the front and back are, or where the benches and two-cycle engine will be installed when it is finished. Kremer and his coworkers are now wrapping numerous straps around the steel tubes to mount various pieces of equipment. After that, the gondola frame will be taken away for welding. “Special welding methods exist that are approved for the special safety requirements in aviation," explains Wolfgang Hassa, Head of Technical Sales and Production at Gefa-Flug.

The schedule for the zeppelin in Bayer blue and green is tight: The test flight was supposed to take place in January. On February 28th, the imposing advertising platform emblazoned with the Bayer cross and the slogan “Science For A Better Life” was to be unveiled at the Spring Financial News Conference in Leverkusen. In March, the airship will be packed up and flown to Sydney, where it will make its first appearance.

Ambassador for an International, Innovative Research Organization

“Studies have determined that balloons and airships have a high degree of popularity,” Hassa reports. Precisely that is the mission of the Bayer airship in the company’s anniversary year: To draw attention, evoke positive emotions and generate interest in the airship and Bayer. It is a heavenly ambassador for an international, innovative research organization.

Bayer Material Makrolon or the Cladding 

“Bayer decided in favor of an airship because, unlike a balloon that depends on thermal columns, it can be controlled and made to circle in the sky,” says Sonja Diewerge, media spokesperson at Bayer and responsible for the anniversary project. The airship will fly in the morning before sunrise, in the evening after sundown, and when winds are calm. For the Bayer Group, safety is priority number one in this project as it is in other areas. For this reason, two pilots will be on board at all times, contrary to usual practice in airships. That means that two remaining seats are still available on all flights.

However, much still has to be done before the first passengers can come on board. As soon as the gondola frame comes back from welding, it will be Wilfried Eichstädt’s turn to take over. The automotive mechanic, together with an electrician, is responsible for finishing the interior: glazing, cushions, engine, tank, propellers, burner controller.

A familiar Bayer material is to be used for the cladding: Makrolon. Fitting the glazing is another challenge, as interior expert Eichstädt explains. “For the cockpit, the cladding at the top and bottom must be curved to different degrees. If it warps by even just two millimeters, the holes will not match up anymore.”

After 2013 the Airship Will Continue to Serve as a Bayer Ambassador

Like the interior specialists, seamstress Annette Sander of Gefa-Flug also is ready to start work on the Bayer fabric envelope. She is just waiting for the material to arrive. In the weeks ahead, she will sew a good 2,500 meters of seams on the 1,300 meters of material, until it takes on the shape of an airship. 

The material is very thin and extremely tear-resistant. At the same time, it is silicone-coated and very slippery. "It takes a lot of skill to sew this material accurately," Hassa says. Sander has the just the right kind of experience, because she has worked for Gefa-Flug for twelve years. 

Once the seamstress is finished, the two lettering specialists can take over: The Bayer cross with the “Science For A Better Life” slogan and “150 years” will first be bonded onto the envelope and then sewn. “It’s not easy applying a two-dimensional object onto a three-dimensional body,” Hassa points out. 

As a sustainable company, Bayer naturally is thinking beyond its anniversary year. The “150 years” will be removed from the airship after 2013. Gefa-Flug trains pilots at the Bayer Leverkusen sport aviation club. The airship will continue to serve as a Bayer ambassador, both in the sky and on the ground.

Last updated: March 8, 2016 Copyright © Bayer AG