How the tail fin of a Boeing 737 came to QCS

In memory of the year 2016...or why there is a tail fin in front of our main building...

QCS Adorns HQ with BXNUMX Tail Fin

In Mörfelden-Walldorf a riddle is going round: Question: Do you know the company Quick Cargo? Answer: No. Question: Do you know where the huge tail fin of an airplane is? Answer: yes. In Kurhessenstrasse, in front of a freight forwarder. Finding: So you know Quick Cargo after all.

Indeed, an original tail fin adorning the front of a forwarding agent’s headquarters may well be unique worldwide. The part stems from a Boeing 737-XNUMX built in Seattle in XNUMX. The D-AGEM registered jetliner was a very special aircraft, having crossed the North Atlantic nonstop in XNUMX:XNUMXh during its maiden flight taking from Seattle to Berlin Tegel. Never before had a BXNUMX travelled XNUMX kilometers without landing in between for refueling up to March XNUMX, XNUMX.

When the call came in in early 2015, Robert Weckwerth was electrified. Quick Cargo Service was supposed to dispose of the disused vertical stabilizer of a Boeing 737-700. That was the order of the Berlin-based airline Germania. They actually wanted to set up the tail fin in front of their hangar at the new Berlin airport, had it painted extra white in Dublin, Ireland and had it brought to Berlin by QCS on a special transporter. But permission was not given to set up the eye-catcher. The authorities had safety concerns because of the frequent wind turbulence at the airport and finally said no.

Robert Weckwerth, the branch manager of QCS in Berlin, should bring the eight meter high and 1500 kilogram heavy part to the garbage. Much too good, thought the experienced logistician, who had spent a good ten years of his professional life at QCS in Kurhessenstrasse and still had fond memories of the Lufthansa lead plant at the entrance to Gate 21 at Frankfurt Airport. "A super eye-catcher", Weckwerth said to himself and said confidently: "What Lufthansa can do, Quick Cargo can also".

When the fin had to be replaced after a major inspection, Germania intended to display the giant part in front of their hangar at the still to be completed new Berlin Airport BER. For repainting the decorative piece, they had engaged Quick Cargo Service to transport it with a special vehicle to Dublin, Ireland and back to Berlin. However, after the repainted fin returned to owner Germania the local authorities expressed major safety concerns because of frequent turbulent winds that might blow the large and heavy aircraft piece over, eventually endangering people walking by.

The bad news for Germania proved to be good news for QCS that was asked by the airline to find an adequate solution to dispose of the tail or recycle the mate

QCS saved the fin from ending up in a scrap press 

However, instead of getting rid of it, QCS decided to keep it themselves and exhibit it in front of their building. And in contrast to Berlin’s safety watchdogs the local authorities at the Gross-Gerau region near Frankfurt, which QCS’s hometown Moerfelden is part of, had no objection, requiring only that “recognized technical rules and, in particular, the structural stability should be observed.” After having built a solid foundation to accommodate the fin, it was brought from Berlin to Moerfelden and hoisted by a crane from the loader onto its pedestal and tightened there with dozens of screws and bolts. Today, everyone entering Quick Cargo Service’s headquarters can see by himself, where the tail fin of the fastest ever B737-700 has found a dignified last resting place. By the way, Germania’s D-AGEM is still in service today, but with a replaced tail fin.

While D-AGEM is still flying today, the tail unit was probably replaced during a major check - and then superfluous.

Stephan Haltmayer had spontaneously said yes when he called Robert Weckwerth. But then the problems began. Because of just setting up. Such a huge part, eight meters high, could be knocked over by the storm in Mörfelden-Walldorf and endanger people. Therefore, first of all, permission to “set up an advertising system” had to be obtained. At least the “Building Regulations and Housing” department of the Groß-Gerau district did not report any fundamental concerns, but made it a condition that the “recognized rules of technology and, in particular, stability must be observed”. And: QCS first had to create a photomontage of how the part would fit into the environment and also submit the static calculation for a foundation.

Nothing worked without a foundation. Because a scaffold should first be installed on the concrete base and the caudal fin should be installed on it. All of this cost a lot of time and even more money. The transport went the fastest. The truck made the tour Berlin - Mörfelden-Walldorf in a single day.

The time had come at the end of December last year. Jürgen Berger from the metal construction company Wulf & Berger in Büttelborn took the 1500 kilograms on the crane's boom and initially had to fight more with the gusty wind than with the weight of the tail fin. Because the placement of the steel colossus was precision work and the wind its greatest enemy. The mounting holes of the tail unit had to fit exactly into the corresponding holes in the steel base frame. According to the calculations of the structural engineer, the frame itself was mounted on a four by two meter wide and one meter thick concrete slab, with special screws that were two centimeters thick, 34 centimeters long and which made the men at Wulf & Berger sweat.  

In March, the icing on the cake finally followed - the “Quick Cargo Service” logo on the tail unit. Since then, men and women in Mörfelden-Walldorf have known that QCS is where the tail unit of an aircraft is.

Senior boss Dieter Haltmayer, who was originally skeptical of his son's idea, is now convinced: “There is no better eye-catcher for us”. That's why he added a chapter to the English edition of his book “My Live in Freight”: “The Tail Fin of a Boeing 737 is the New Attraction at QCS Headquarters”.

Wolfgang Schubert

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